Breaking Open the Word
By James Cavanagh
Oct. 24: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
This week’s readings remind us of how important it is to have the right disposition before God. Written in Alexandria, Egypt around 132 B.C. the book of Sirach synthesizes centuries of Jewish wisdom. It contains practical instructions on religion and morality.
The first reading comes from a section that deals with authentic worship and the kind of sacrifices acceptable to God. Nothing is quite as humbling as the recognition of our own mortality.
In the second reading Paul sees his life “being poured out like a libation.” He is imprisoned and alone, yet he does not despair. Strengthened by Christ who has stood by him every step of the way, Paul is confident that the Lord will bring him safe to his heavenly kingdom.
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus tells a parable about religious leaders who “were convinced of their own righteousness.” Before we jump to conclusions, it’s important to understand that Jesus does not condemn the righteousness of the Pharisee, nor does he commend the sinfulness of the tax collector. The problem with the Pharisee was his lack of humility, while the tax collector was honest with himself and God saying, simply, “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
“Catechism of the Catholic Church”:
Pope Benedict XVI:
James Cavanagh is director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-Area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. For information on subscribing to "Breaking Open the Word, click here. For archives click here.