Let us take the words of the tax collector in the Gospel today and say, “God be merciful to me, a sinner!” As we pray with these words, let us remember that honesty and humility seem to go hand in hand, and our readings this week show how essential these attitudes are to our prayer.
In our first reading we learn that God listens with special care to the humble. In his justice, he is no respecter of ‘personages’: those of undue importance or elevated status.
The psalm picks up this theme. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted. He hears the cry of the poor.
St Paul, in his letter to Timothy, faces the court alone. But he knows the Lord is at his side, and it is the Lord who gives him power to proclaim the message. Paul is full of thanksgiving for God’s continuous care.
Our Gospel is the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee is full of self-righteousness, but the humble tax collector, who acknowledges his sinfulness, goes home ‘at rights with God’.
This week, let us come to prayer acknowledging all our sinfulness – knowing that the Lord, in his mercy, will always hear us.
Joy and peace.