The readings we have on this 30th Sunday of the year in ordinary time, presents to us the fact that we serve an impartial and just judge. God is a just God, irrespective of the fact whether we are poor or rich. He stands for the oppressed, the less privileged and the most abandoned. That is why from the 1st reading of today from the book of Sirach, he points out the fact that the prayer of the oppressed and less privileged pierces the clouds. That goes to show us my brothers and sisters in Christ, that when the oppressed raises their voice in prayer to God; he listens to them.
The question on this 30th Sunday, dear friends in Christ, would be have you at any point in time been an oppressor? Today Jesus is admonishing you and I, that there is need for us to retrace our steps; like the tax collector in today’s gospel reading. The tax collector was humble enough to stay far away and call out to God and said “O God be merciful to me a sinner” and by that action, God answered his prayers; the gospel said he went away been at peace with God. In the same way dear friends in Christ, on this 30th Sunday, we are all encouraged to live a life that is worthy of emulation; an oppressive life does not give glory to God. When we treat people as less ‘humans’, as a result of the position we occupy, as a result of the power and authority we wield; then we are not far from those that the 1st reading is talking about.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, this attitude an action, is such that it is degrading and not pleasing in the sight of God, that is why we have to ensure that we retrace our steps and return back to God. The way to do that will be that every oppressive attitude that we have, we have to let go. For instance when people come in search of job and it is our duty to employ them because they qualify, do we give it to them or we ask for more? When widows come to us for justice, do we give them justice? When a brother dies, do you confiscate all his properties while the family he left behind suffers? As a lecturer in the school, do you award marks according to what the student’s merit? These are questions that need to be answered, as we reflect on the 1st reading from the book of Sirach. God does not align with the oppressor; we should strive not to be on the side of the oppressors. Let us always speak the truth and stand for the truth at all times.
It is because we serve a just God that is why in the 2nd reading from St. Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy, he is able to courageously say that he has played his role, he has done his part and what is left is for God to accomplish. Dear friends in Christ, humility will go a long way to help us accomplish this great task; of been free, humane and been on the side of the oppressed. Just like see sometimes that self righteousness can be very destructive, just like in the gospel of today. The tax collector recognized the fact that he was a sinner and went to God with a repentant heart, while the self righteous Pharisee felt it was his right for God to answer his prayer. Forgetting that God does not judge us according to the tithes we pay, he does not judge us based on the fact that we come to church on Sunday, he does not judge us based on the fact that we sit on the front pews in the church; God judges us according to our hearts, are we truly humane, do we think about the other and the common good, do we carry out the gospel imperatives in our lives?
We pray in a very special way on this 30th Sunday, that the good Lord will grant us the graces web need to put into practice his admonitions from our readings today. Then we will be courageous enough to say like St. Paul that we have ran a good race and fought a good fight.
Peace be with you! Amen!