30th Sunday – Gospel Reflection


The prayer of the humble man pierces the clouds’

The two men in today’s parable are worlds apart. The Pharisee was the model citizen, a pillar of society, law-abiding, upright, one of the ‘spiritual elite’. The Tax Collector on the other hand was despised by all, seen as corrupt, untrustworthy  hy, the one to be avoided. When they come to the Temple to pray God ignores the externals and looks to the heart. The Pharisee is self-centred and arrogant, and there is nothing more irreligious than self-absorbed religion. He is actually praying to himself. The Tax Collector gets it right. He comes before God humble and repentant and his prayer is heard. ‘The prayer of the humble man pierces the clouds’. The message is clear. No person who is proud can pray. No person who despises a fellow human being can pray. True prayer is centred on God, and offered to God alone (Fr. Peter Burke)