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What's the Gospel According to You?

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted
Sirach 35:12-14,16-18; Psalm 34:2-3,17-19,23; II Timothy 4:6-8,16-18; Luke 18:9-14

Sermon Week Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 18:14

A wise person once said, "I've learned that to ignore the facts, does not change the facts." Which reminds me of the story of a man who had become an expert in ignoring certain difficult facts. The man, who was getting on in years observed, "Everything is farther away than it used to be. It's twice as far to the corner, and I've noticed that they've added a hill. I've given up running for the bus. It leaves faster than it used to. I ran across an old school friend the other day, and he had aged so badly that he didn't recognize me. I got to thinking about him this morning as I was combing my hair and glanced at my reflection. They don't make good mirrors anymore, either."

It has been said that the cause of humanity has suffered much at the hands of people who do what they think God would do if only He knew the facts. In today's Gospel Lesson, Jesus tells the story of two men, one of whom is in the act of praising himself as he thinks God would praise him if only He knew the facts. And since he is in the Temple, he finds it convenient to let God in on the facts. "I am not like other men," he tells God. "I am not an extortioner. I am not unjust. I am not an adulterer. I am not like that sinner standing over there. I give my fair share to the Temple. And I am obedient to all the religious laws." He sounds almost like he's asking God, "Now what more could you possibly want?"

The second man in Jesus' story is also in the Temple. He bows his head and, unlike the first man, does not presume to let God in on the facts of his life or anyone else's. Instead, he offers a simple prayer in which he acknowledges that God already knows the facts of his case. "God," he prays, "Be merciful to me a sinner" (Lk. 18:13).

Jesus' commentary on the story, is [...]


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