What God Favors

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The WORD in other words (2022) by Fr Dennis B. Testado SVD (University of San Carlos, Cebu City)

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time / C

“Humility saves man; pride makes him lose his way.” These words of Pope Francis describe the fate of the Pharisee and the tax collector in today’s Gospel – the former did not find favor with God, while the latter was pleasing before God.

Let us take a look at the attitude of the Pharisee and the tax collector in the Gospel. The Pharisee stood up and prayed: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like the tax collector. I do fasting twice a week, and I give a tithe of everything I get.” The Pharisee exalted himself at the expense of others. Absorbed with self-satisfaction and self-congratulation, he mainly prayed about himself. His prayer consisted of bragging about what he did and of disdaining those he despised. The tax collector, on the other hand,exemplified humility before God and begged for mercy. Standing at a distance, he cannot even raise his eyes to heaven as a sign of guilt. Instead of telling God the good things about himself, he described himself as a sinner.

The fate of the Pharisee and the tax collector underlines what God favors – humility.

Fr. Frank Mihalic makes an illustration (1000 Stories): If two goats meet each other in a narrow path above a stream of water, what do they do? They cannot turn back, and they cannot pass each other, for there is not an inch of spare room. Instinctively, they know that if they butt each other, both will fall into the water below and be drowned. What would they do? Nature has taught one goat to lie down so that the other can pass over its body; as a result, each goat arrives at its destination safe and sound.

This Sunday, we are invited to develop an attitude of humility. Humility assures God’s benevolence, for he favors the humble.

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