Sunday Readings and Reflections

The tax collector and the Pharisee by Barent Fabritius (1624 – 1673)

Sunday, October 23 
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Roman Ordinary calendar

St. John of Capistrano

Book of Sirach 35,12-14.16-18.

The LORD is a God of justice, who knows no favorites. 
Though not unduly partial toward the weak, yet he hears the cry of the oppressed. 
He is not deaf to the wail of the orphan, nor to the widow when she pours out her complaint; 
He who serves God willingly is heard; his petition reaches the heavens. 
The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal, 
Nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds, judges justly and affirms the right, and the Lord will not delay. 

Psalms 34(33),2-3.17-18.19.23.

I will bless the LORD at all times; 
his praise shall be ever in my mouth. 
Let my soul glory in the LORD; 
the lowly will hear me and be glad. 

The LORD confronts the evildoers, 
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth. 
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them, 
and from all their distress he rescues them. 

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; 
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. 
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants; 
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him. 

Second Letter to Timothy 4,6-8.16-18.

Beloved: I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. 
I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. 
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance. 
At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them! 
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen. 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 18,9-14.

Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. 
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. 
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity–greedy, dishonest, adulterous–or even like this tax collector. 
I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ 
But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ 
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” 

Saint John Chrysostom (c.345-407) 
priest at Antioch then Bishop of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church 
Homilies on conversion, no.2 (cf. DDB 1978, p. 46)

“O God, be merciful to me a sinner”

A Pharisee and a tax collector went up to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee began by enumerating all his virtues, declaring: “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity – greedy, dishonest, adulterous – or even like this tax collector!” Wretched man! Daring to cast judgement on the whole world! Why afflict your neighbour? Do you need to condemn this tax collector as well? Isn’t the earth enough for you? You accuse everyone without exception: “I am not like the rest of humanity… or even like this tax collector; I fast twice a week, I pay tithes on my whole income.” What smugness lies in these words! What a miserable creature! …

As for the tax collector, he had understood these words only too well and might have responded in kind: “Who are you, then, daring to make such unkind comments in my regard? How do you come to know anything about my life? You’ve never kept society with me, you’re not one of my close friends, so why show such arrogance? Besides, who is able to bear witness to the genuineness of your good deeds? What makes you sing your own praises like this or who is encouraging you to glorify yourself in this way?” Yet he did none of these things – quite the opposite – he cast himself on the ground, saying: “God be merciful to me, a sinner!” And because he gave proof of his humility, he went away justified.

The Pharisee left the Temple deprived of any kind of absolution, whereas the tax collector went away, his heart renewed by re-found righteousness. … All the same, there was no question in this case of humility in the sense the term is used when someone of high rank lowers himself. In the case of the tax collector, it was not a question of humility but of simple truth since what he said was true.

Traditional Latin Mass Readings for this Sunday

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