Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Homily - Tenth Sunday after Pentecost - August 2, 2015

1 Cor. 12:2-11; Lk. 18:9-14

Comparisons are odious, including in the spiritual life.  We never compare.  If we compare ourselves with others, we will always find someone who we consider better off than ourselves, and we will feel dejected.  And we will always find someone who we consider worse off than ourselves, and we will feel proud.  We simply try to see ourselves as God sees us, with His presence, gifts, love, and the grace necessary to overcome our sins and weaknesses.  St. Paul says he does not even judge himself.  He leaves that to God.  If we can see ourselves as God sees us, we will be in a good place.

The parable in today’s Gospel gives us two extremes.  The Pharisee is a proud man.  We may allow ourselves a little comparison here.  As we all struggle with pride, it is safe to say that no one here is as proud as this Pharisee.  The Gospel says he prays to himself.  He declares that he is not like the rest of men.  He makes himself better than everyone else in the world.  And, if that is not enough, he singles out this poor Publican, certainly he is better than him.  The Pharisee does not even ask for anything.  He is full.  He is unable to receive anything.  The Lord gives us this, that no matter where we are with pride, we are ahead of the curve.

The Publican, on the other hand, is so very humble.  We would like to be more like him.  He says, “Be merciful to me, the sinner,” as if he were the worst sinner in the world.  Sometimes, we feel this way, but that cannot be true about anyone here.  It means very much to God that we strive to please Him, that we do not give up.  I always urge people to have compassion on themselves, because God has compassion on them, as He sees us staying true to the struggles.

So we are there somewhere in the middle.  St. John Chrysostom says that the two figures in our parable are like two chariots.  And he says, paradoxically, that the chariot of sin will outpace that of righteousness, because of the excellence of humility.  But the other is defeated, not by righteousness, but by the weight of pride.  It seems ironic that sin with humility will get us father than righteousness with pride, but we see that pride cuts us off from God, but humility opens us up to Him.

But the parable does not end there.  If sin and humility, or righteousness and pride are like chariots, this is the supersonic jet:  righteousness and humility.  It is the way of the cross.  Our Lord Himself, though He never sinned, knew what it was to fall, not once, but three times, and each time He got up again and went forward, confident in the Father.  And this is the way, the way of the Cross, the way with our Lord, the supersonic jet, which will get us to heaven.