October 23, 2016
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
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.”
REFLECTION (Sem. Rodel D. Aclan)
Our Holy Mother, the Church, teaches us that her mission and the mission of each and every Christian is to proclaim the Gospel, our Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation He won for us, up to the far end of the world.
I believe the Gospel reading today speaks well of how are we to conduct ourselves in order for us to do our mission, and that is by being humble. The Gospel reading tells us about a Pharisee who proudly enumerated his good deeds and the bad ones that he avoided. On the other hand, there is also a tax collector who can’t even look at heaven while praying because he knows how sinful he is.
Jesus praised and affirmed the tax collector not for his evil deeds but because of his humility. He humbled himself before the Lord by declaring to God his sinfulness and unworthiness but more than that, he begged for God’s mercy. Between the two, the tax collector, according to Jesus, “went home justified”.
While we fulfil our God-given mission in life, it is a must that we have a humble heart. A heart that does not see itself as superior or better than the others instead it is more aware of its shortcomings that’s why it never ceases to beg for God’s mercy. Seminary formation teaches this value of humility.
Whenever I look back three years ago as a newly accepted seminarian in HASS, I could see the difference how I view life and all my accomplishments before entering the seminary. Before I would always tell my life story very proudly and hoe I persevered and won over challenges. Even sufferings became a story to be proud of because I was able to overcome them. At the back of my mind, those were enough reasons for me to be qualified as a priest to embark on this new mission.
However, seminary formation made me realize that my qualifications as a future priest do not lie on what I have or the good things I have done before. It lies on my capacity to be humble and see my own unworthiness before the Lord. Accepting my shortcomings and limitations and humbly asking God for His mercy will lead me to journey on the path He carved for me.
In the end, in doing the mission of God, which is to proclaim Christ, I will not bring to people my success story in life for them to believe but with humility I will acknowledge my weaknesses before them and tell them how God has been merciful to me.