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At Rights With God

**Two men went up to the Temple to pray** (Luke 18:10).
Sirach 35:12-14,16-18; Psalms 34:2,3,17-19,23; II Timothy 4:6-8,16-18; Luke 18:9-14

Sermon Topic Prayer

Sermon Week Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 18:10


From the pen of an anonymous poet:

I got up early one morning,
and rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish,
I didn't have time to pray.

Trouble just tumbled about me,
and heavier came each task,
"Why doesn't God help me? I wondered,
He answered, "You didn't ask!"

I wanted to see joy and beauty,
but the day toiled grey and bleak.
I called on the Lord for a reason,
He said, "You didn't seek!"

The anonymous poet then wrote a little postscript:

I woke up early one morning,
and paused before entering the day.
I had so much to accomplish,
That I had to take time to pray.

A professor of Church History gave an examination which began with the question, "What is a martyr?" One student answered, "A martyr is a person who has to live with a saint."

In today's Gospel Lesson, Jesus speaks a parable about two men who go up to the Temple to pray. One is a Pharisee, who prays to himself, "I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of mankind" (Lk. 18:11). Think of that Pharisee's poor wife, who had to live with that self-appointed saint! Surely she was some kind of martyr! And surely, the late Cardinal Cushing of Boston would have agreed. He once said, "Saints are okay in Heaven, but they're hell on earth."

A modern-day, self-righteous, self-appointed saint -- went to a doctor for a check-up. "I'm not feeling very well these days," he said. "Please examine me thoroughly, and tell me what's wrong." Whereupon, the doctor began with a few questions ...
"Do you drink a lot?"

"No, I never touch the stuff. I'm a teetotaler, and proud of it."

"Do you smoke?"

"No. I've never gone near tobacco, and I'm proud of it."

"What about your sleeping habits?"

"I go to bed early. While others are out carousing late at night, I'm in bed by 10:30, and I'm proud of it."

"Well, what is your complaint at this time?"

"I have terrible pains in my head."

"Aha! That's your trouble. Your halo is on too tight!"

The Pharisee in today's Lesson was not alone in the Temple praying. A tax collector (or "publican") was there [...]

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