30th Sunday of Ordinary Time

“The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds.”
Close to the broken-hearted, God saves those crushed in spirit.

Call to worship

Only those who understand their deep need for God can pray honestly and hear God. When we are filled with judgment or prejudice, we can never hear God speak to us.

  • To the point: The Pharisee is faithful to pious practices, but misses the heart of prayer: the inward turning to God that carries us outward to right relationship with others. We cannot honestly pray to God if we judge harshly and set ourselves apart from those we meet every day. The tax collector is justified; he admits that he has not been in right relationships (“me a sinner”). True humility is honesty about who we are before both God and others. True prayer leads to God exalting us (“went home justified”) because we have humbled ourselves before God and exalted others through our just actions toward them.
  • Connecting the Gospel (Luke 18:9-14) to the first reading: Sirach states in a poetic way what Jesus in the gospel parable teaches: our just God extends justice to those who petition God, serve God, and live rightly.
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: The Pharisee uses his pious practices to separate himself from “the rest of humanity.” Authentic religious practices — for the Pharisee and for us —ultimately lead us to communion with God and one another.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Luke 18: 9-14)

O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.

Listen, to one man, who moves from storage bin to apartment.
With no bed and sleeps on the floor.
“What else could I want?” he prays.
“God is so merciful.”
And to another.
With no ID, he can’t get in a shelter,
… has disease-ravaged toes.
He finds shoes that fit, and cries to God,
“Oh, I am so blessed.”
Lord, have mercy on us.

The First Reading

(Sirach 35: 12-14, 16-18)

Though not unduly partial toward the weak,
yet God hears the cry of the oppressed.

I will bless the Lord at all times.
Praise ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the Lord,
who will hear the cry of the poor.
Let the lowly hear and be glad:
the Lord listens to their pleas,
and to hearts broken, God is near,
who will hear the cry of the poor.
We proclaim your greatness, O God,
with praise ever in our mouth.
Every face brightened in your light,
for you hear the cry of the poor.

The Second Reading

(2 Timothy 4: 6-8, 16-18)

“May it not be held against them!” Paul said.

Paul was deserted, poured out like a libation,
because he loved you.
Jesus, he started to sound like you
and, like you, put his loving trust in God,
every minute of every day:
when he preached, or when he
 struggled with a “thorn in his side.”
Lord, let us love your Abba well, like Paul.
let us start to look and sound like you.

Copyright © 2022, Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection