18-Oct-2016 Dear Friend, We live in an age of speed and instant response. Engineering and technology have provided us with tools that speed up things for us. As we get used to quick responses we tend to push God and expect him to instantly respond to us. But when something or someone is important to us we are ready to wait. Is God important to us? Can we wait for Him? He is not impressed by our words but attitudes! Have an unhurried weekend waiting on Him! -Fr. Jude Sun Ref. XXX Sunday: ‘The Lord listens to the humble, He will not delay!’ 23-Oct-2016Sirach 35: 12-14, 16-18; 2 Tim. 4: 6-8, 16-18; Luke 18: 9-14;
The first reading from Sirach describes God as partial to the weak, listening to the cry of the oppressed, especially the powerless orphans and widows. God always listens to the poor and has a favourable sentence on the one who does not boast of their merits and has only poverty and mercy to rely on. God will vindicate the rights of the wronged. No respecter of the privilegedOne incident which impressed itself on Mahatma Gandhi’s mind was when he was obliged to step into the gutter so that a group of white passers-by would not be contaminated. Reflecting on the experience afterwards he wrote: It has always been a mystery to me how men feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings. Gandhi made the remark not in anger but in surprise. When he returned to his native India he abandoned the practice of the law to practice satyagraha – the non-violent force born of truth and love. Gandhi saw truth as having a power of its own and, although he was imprisoned four times for resisting British colonial rule, he never doubted the rightness of his cause. In the language of the first reading, Gandhi believed in a God who was no respecter of the privileged to the detriment of the poor. His persistence in his cause for justice is a powerful illustration of the truth we heard proclaimed: “The humble man’s prayer pierces the clouds, until it arrives he is inconsolable nor will he desist until the Most High takes notice of him.”Denis McBride in ‘Seasons of the word’ Jesus in today’s gospel caricatures the two extremes of the religious society of his day, two attitudes before God. In which do I see myself, the Pharisee or the publican? First the Pharisee, with his ‘magnificent’ prayer of thanks asks nothing for himself, and we should judge him as no hypocrite: what he says, he does, and perfectly. The trouble is he knows it too well: he listens to himself praying, he is preoccupied with himself. Above all, he judges others. As far as he is concerned about God, he sees him chiefly as the one who will recognise his merits. Set against this religiously observant man, we have the publican. He makes no great prayer of thanksgiving; he confesses, not because he needs to sweep his conscience clear but to express all the sorrow he feels for them. Finding nothing that could give him any assurance before his judge, he entrusts himself to the divine mercy. When this humble man returned to his home he, and not the other, was at rights with God. As Christians we know that a just man is one who has been justified, saved by God, without regard for merit. Do we believe that firmly enough when we pray? The best revealer of God and of ourselves is still our prayer! True humility makes way for GodNarada, the Indian sage, was a devotee of God. So great was his devotion that he was one day tempted to think that in all the world there was no one who loved God more than he. His self-righteousness began to lead him towards pride and arrogance. The Lord read his heart and said, “Narada, go to this town on the banks of the Ganges for a devotee of mine dwells there. Living with him will do you good.” Narada went and found a farmer who rose early in the morning, pronounced the name of God only once, then lifted his plough and went out to his fields where he worked the whole day. Just before he fell asleep at night he pronounced the name of God once again. Narada thought, “How can this farmer be a devotee of God? He pronounced God’s name only twice in the day, and then got himself immersed in his worldly occupation.” When Narada voiced his opinion to God, then the Lord said to him, “Fill a bowl to the brim with milk and walk all round the city. Then come back without spilling a single drop.” Narada did as he was told, and returned back. Then the Lord asked him, “How many times did you remember me in the course of your walk around the city?” Not once,” replied Narada. “How could I when you commanded me to watch that bowl of milk?” The Lord said, “That bowl so absorbed your attention that you forgot me altogether. But look at that farmer who, though burdened with the cares of supporting a family, remembers me twice a day.”John Rose in ‘John’s Sunday Homilies’ I’m OK, You’re OKThe Pharisee was the religious pro-he did all the right things demanded by the law. The tax collector was a sinner by employment – he was guilty of breaking the law by the very work he did. Each man prays in the Temple. If Jesus had stopped to ask us, “Who do you think went home justified?” we probably would have answered, “The Pharisee!” But Jesus would say, “You’re wrong! The other guy is the good guy. “How come?” we would protest. Then Jesus would give us the punch line: “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” In terms of Transactional Analysis the Pharisee was relating to God like a parent to a child. He was telling God all about the good things he was doing for him –fasting, praying, tithing and so on. He was almost demanding that God admire and approve of him. On the other hand, the tax collector related to God like a child to a parent. He humbly acknowledged that he had done wrong but trusted in his heavenly Father’s love and mercy.Albert Cylwicki in ‘His Word Resounds’ Forgetting our rootsA clergyman had reached the end of his rope, and he decided to try some other way of life that might give him a greater personal satisfaction. He was very disappointed to discover that a job was hard to come by. At last, he landed a job in the local zoo. Unfortunately, when he went there, the job was not exactly available just yet, but the manager asked him to consider taking a temporary job, until the other one was vacant. As it happened the chimpanzee had died, and had not yet been replaced. The chimp was a great favourite with the children, and the cage could not be left empty for long. They had a chimp suit, and the man was asked if he would mind getting into the suit, and taking the place of the chimp. All he’d have to do was to roll around a few times, eat a banana, go back in the back for a rest, etc. He decided to give it a go. He was an instant success. The children gathered around his cage. He soon discovered that he was now getting much more attention than he ever got in the pulpit. One day, he decided to really get into the act. He jumped up, grabbed an overhead bar, and began to swing to and fro, to the delighted screams of the children. He got carried away with himself, and he really began to swing with gusto. Unfortunately, after one huge effort, his hands (paws?) slipped, and he went flying over the partition into the cage next door. A huge tiger approached, and, forgetting that he was supposed to be a chimp, he screamed ‘Help! Help!’, to which the tiger whispered sharply, ‘Shut up, you fool; I’m a minister too!’ We are all the same when we stand before God.Jack McArdle in ‘And that’s the Gospel truth!’ My prayer answeredA good life, like a good prayer, comes from emptying ourselves of ourselves to let God in. That means a realization of the truth of the words scribbled long ago by an anonymous soldier of the Confederacy:“I asked God for strength, that I might achieve – I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for help that I might do greater things – I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.I asked for riches, that I might be happy – I was given poverty, that I might be wise.I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life – I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.I got nothing that I asked for – but everything I had hoped for.Despite myself, my prayers were answered. I am, among all men, most richly blessed!”Harold Buetow in ‘God Still Speaks! Listen’ May we remember that God listens when we speak humbly to Him! Fr. Jude Botelho botelhoj...@gmail.com PS. The stories, incidents and anecdotes used in the reflections have been collected over the years from books as well as from sources over the net and from e-mails received. Every effort is made to acknowledge authors whenever possible. If you send in stories or illustrations I would be grateful if you could quote the source as well so that they can be acknowledged if used in these reflections.These reflections are also available on my Web site www.NetForLife.net Thank you.