Sunday, October 23, 2016

Empty hands



In today's Gospel reading we hear about two sinners. These two sinners approach God in two totally and completely different ways. One goes before Him with a sense of righteousness and the other in total humility. One pointed towards the sins of others while the other pointed out his own sinfulness. One made reference to all the good he does and the other dared not even look up to God.

Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity greedy, dishonest, adulterous -- or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14

In a world where increasingly they try to shame Christians into submission and try to shut us up and make us believe that our faith is but a private devotion, we must learn to give witness in humility. Let us grow stronger and more courageous not necessarily in speech and argument, but in humility and love.

Let us be witnesses to God's love that helps us to recognize our own failings like the tax collector. Not so we can wallow in self-pity but so we can aim towards being "who God meant for us to be so we can set the world on fire!"

The only way to give witness is to recognize our own littleness.

It is only in the greatness of God, that others will see the truth of God.

It is only in His mercy that hearts will begin to change.

It is only through the God of love and compassion that dwells in our hearts, that the faith will grow.

The pharisee set himself apart not in holiness as we are called, but in self-righteousness. The pharisee did not recognize his sins because he was blinded by his own pride.

The tax collector saw the goodness of God and that only God is good. Any goodness that we find in ourselves comes from Him. All praise, honor and thanksgiving should be given to Him for all the goodness in the world.

May we, as sinners, come before God with empty hands so that He may fill them with His love and compassion for a world in dire need of Him.

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