With this 30th Sunday, we have now approached to the end of the liturgical year C; In fact, we have only four weeks remaining then we start another liturgical year A. This year C, we have been accompanied every Sunday by the Gospel of St. Luke which today presents two people in prayer: The Pharisee and the Publican. Last Sunday we focused on the theme of prayer, and we learned that prayer is the power that changes and transforms our world into the kingdom of God. Today, we continue the same theme of prayer while focusing on the heart that prays.
Once upon a time, there was the beauty contest between the Horse and the Donkey. They agreed to make the cosmic god their judge. Every day, the Horse bragged that she is the most beautiful creature on earth. Because of that, she entered the stage and said: “Sir god! you have given me beauty! you have given me many other qualities. I am so grateful! Indeed, I am the most loved animal. Every human being likes to sit on my back for a ride! Besides that, I am so well-proportioned that they feel so comfortable sitting on my back. Furthermore! they have even made shoes for my strong legs.” And to demonstrate her beautiful strong legs and shoes, the Horse walked out of the stage. Then, here came in the Donkey, old looking, exhausted and slowly walking. She said: “Oh cosmic god, I thank you for creating me with the tremendous strength to carry heavy loads. Nevertheless, I am so sorry for lacking the sense of responsibility when I get annoyed. To be truthful, human beings get more upset by me when I can’t even move out of the way for others and the cars to pass. I even became worse when they made my children carry heavy loads along with me. But I promise from today, to be different for the rest of my life. And the old exhausted Donkey walked out of the stage silently. Consequently, the cosmic god rose to give his verdict and he said: “I declare that the poor and humble Donkey is the most beautiful animal! And therefore, the winner.
While we need to believe in ourselves and be confident, humility, gentleness and kindness, should be the qualities of the Christian disciple. They make both the disciple and the message beautiful. For a Christian prayer to rise up to heaven, it must emanate from a poor and the humble heart. “The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds” affirms Ecclesiasticus/Sirach (35:21). The Psalmist says: “Yahweh is near to the broken hearted, he helps those whose spirit is crushed” (34:18). And by way of contrast, Paul reveals his humility in his mission with these words: “I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith, and besides that, my life has been poured out as a libation” (2Tim 4:7).
From today’s message, we can turn our thoughts and prayer to the individuals and families, who find it difficult to pray or be in communion with others, because of their pride, or because their hearts are crushed and choked by the possessions, challenges and difficulties in life. And through our self-knowledge, may we make the sincere prayer and communion with God.
Joy and Peace.