Thirtieth Sunday, C
“O God, be merciful to me a sinner”
This is one of the most important Gospels. It is about the humble man and the proud man. In Ecclesiasticus we hear the humble man is at rights with God which we hear again in the Gospel.
A humble person humbles themselves before all, God and man as they understand that they do wrong. We are all sinners. It is what the proud person does that is alarming! A proud person says, ‘I am good; other people are bad.’ ...“Thank you God that I’m not grasping and unjust, like all the rest!”
St Augustine says, “It was pride that changed angels into devils.” Through pride we become arbiters of truth and goodness because we think we know better and that we are better, and certainly rules don’t apply – ‘it’s okay for me because it doesn’t apply to me.' And we think that whatever we want to do is always okay. Think of the LGBT pride movement. According to them all they do is good.
You see, to preserve our self-image we twist things in our mind, turning our image of ourselves into something positive when we have done wrong. Blame is attributed to something or someone other than one’s self. I’m a good person, the snake tricked me and made me eat the apple. I’m a good person, Eve here, she made me do it! Getting to gay pride, I’m a good person, the world is wrong about being gay.
But what is happening is this: By taking no responsibility for our wrongdoings i.e., by not admitting to our sinfulness we justify what we do to maintain the lie that we are good, and that we have not done anything wrong!
We all do wrong. In those circumstances there are two possibilities about the way we see ourselves when we are not living up to the way of holiness that Jesus is calling us to. The way of pride and self-deception – I am not grasping and unjust, they are, or The way of humble repentance – God be merciful to me a sinner.
We read in Sacred Scripture, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Dear brothers and sisters, we all are in need of mercy, we all need to repent of our sins – let’s admit the truth.