30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Sirach 35: 15-17, 20-22 2 Timothy 4: 6-8, 16-18 Luke 18:9-14
Theme: Reliable God
The readings we have on this 30th Sunday of the year, present to us the fact that we serve an impartial and just Judge. God is a just Judge who judges justly, irrespective of those involved; poor or rich alike. 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 made it clear that the prayer of the oppressed and less privileged pierces the clouds to Him. This goes to show us brothers and sisters in Christ, that when the oppressed raise their voice in prayer to God; He listens to them.
Consequently, we should ask ourselves: have we at any point in time been an oppressor? Today Jesus is admonishing 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, 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.
Therefore, we should avoid the attitude of oppression and degradation of others. We can achieve that by avoiding every oppressive attitude that we have and let go of every bitterness that leads to hatred. 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 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. On the other hand, pride and self-righteousness can lead us to self-destruction, just like we see 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 we 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 the good race and fought a good fight. As you do this, may almighty God bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Peace be with you.