October 22, 2016

30th Sunday - C


Knowing Self and Knowing God

Last week, we reviewed the four types of verbal prayer (prayer of adoration and thanksgiving, of petition, of intercession, and of contrition).

Today, the Gospel offers us an example of a sinner who knows how to pray a prayer of contrition.  The tax collector knows himself and trusts in God’s goodness and mercy.  Thus, he is able to humbly ask for forgiveness. 

The Pharisee, on the contrary, misses the chance to offer a prayer of thanksgiving.  He has done all the right things, at least according to his list.  But he gives credit all to himself instead of to God.  In fact, he brags and puts himself above “the rest of humanity.”  He really does not know himself, nor does he know God.  Therefore, he fails.  

30th Sunday - C (October 23, 2016)


October 15, 2016

29th Sunday - C


Prayer – More than Asking for Things and Favors

Sometimes, we limit our prayer to asking God for favors. 

There are non-verbal prayers (for example, meditation) and verbal prayers (which can be said out loud or silently).  Traditionally, verbal prayers are put into four categories.
1. Prayer of Adoration (praising God) and Thanksgiving
2. Prayer of Petition (asking for what we ourselves need)
3. Prayer of Intercession (asking for what others need)
4. Prayer of Contrition (asking for forgiveness) 

In the Gospel of Luke, which we listen to during this liturgical year, there are examples of all four types of verbal prayer. 

Last week, we learned from the Samaritan leper prayer of adoration and thanksgiving.  Once he was cured, he returned to Jesus, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.”

Today, we have an example of prayer of petition.

Next week, we will learn from a tax collector how to pray for forgiveness.  

At other places in Luke’s Gospel, we also have examples of people who pray for others (for example, the centurion who asks Jesus to cure his sick servant in 7:1-10).

It is important to know that prayer is more than asking God for things and favors.

In addition, in Luke, Jesus teaches us the right attitude of prayer.

 Two weeks ago (27th Sunday), in Luke 17:5-10, using the image of the servant coming in from the field, and still expected to serve his master, Jesus told us of who we are and who God is, and that God does not owe us anything.  All that we have and all that we are come from God’s gracious love and generosity.  Humility and gratitude are essential in our prayer.

The week prior to that, with the parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus, we learned that prayer cannot be separated from charity and sensitivity to the needs of people around us. 

Today’s parable encourages us to pray with trust because God, who is the opposite of the wicked judge, will grant us what we need for our salvation and wellbeing. 

May the reflection on these Gospel passages help enrich our prayer life, and ultimately, deepen our relationship with God.

[1]  The classifications of these four categories of prayer may varied.  Sometimes, prayer of adoration and prayer of thanksgiving are separated, but prayer of petition and contrition are combined.  

29th Sunday - C (October 16, 2016)


October 9, 2016

28th Sunday - C


What a Reputation.

With the religious leaders of the people, Jesus has the reputation of a trouble maker.

With the people, however, Jesus is known for his teaching with authority (Luke 4:32) and a miracle worker (4:23).

Moreover, the lepers in this Gospel passage of Luke 17:11-19 must have heard of Jesus’ reputation of compassion for the outcasts of society.  Otherwise, they would not have dared to break the law and come near him.  Not only have they heard of his mighty power of healing, they must have heard and believed that he cares for them.  The Samaritan man, recognizing that he has been healed, even goes as far as touching Jesus’ feet as a gesture of humble gratitude.  He knows he would not be rejected. 

His confidence challenges me to trust in Jesus’ mercy and compassion for me, a sinner.

Then, Jesus proclaims God’s mercy by his words, actions, and attitudes.  And that is his reputation.

What reputation do I have as a child of God?  A good question to ask during this Jubilee Year of Mercy.

28th Sunday - C (October 9, 2016)


October 1, 2016

27th Sunday - C


“Lord, Increase Our Faith”

In Chapter 16 of his gospel, Luke records a number of challenging teachings from Jesus.   He warns the Pharisees for putting their reputation and human esteem before God.  He affirms the validity of the law, that ““It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the smallest part of a letter of the law to become invalid.”  He assures the validity of marriage and equates divorce and remarriage with adultery.  He also teaches the two parables of the cunning steward and the rich man and Lazarus, which we listened to these past two Sundays. 

Then, Chapter 17 begins with Jesus’ condemnation of those who “cause one of the little ones to sin.”  He also demands that his followers forgive one another even to seven times a day.

After hearing all these challenging and demanding teachings, the Apostles implore the Lord, “Increase our faith.” [1]

The way of Jesus is not easy.

Have I come to realize that I cannot follow the way of Jesus by my own efforts? 

Think of the time in your life that, like the Apostles, you felt the need to ask God to increase your faith. 

[1] http://www.progressiveinvolvement.com