Loading...
Loading...
Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Jaime L. WatersOctober 14, 2022
a man is seated on the ground with a cardboard sign that reads "homeless please help" and a man crouches holding a kitten next to himPhoto from Unsplash.

The readings for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time inspire us to be introspective and self-critical. They also are reminders to evaluate how we live and how we help to support those who are vulnerable and most in need.

“He hears the cry of the oppressed” (Sir 35:16).

Liturgical day
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
Readings
Sir 35:12-18, Ps 34, 2 Tm 4:6-18, Lk 18:9-14
Prayer

How do you pray from a spirit of honest self-knowledge?

What can you do to respond to the needs of those who are oppressed?

For what do you need forgiveness?

In the Gospel reading from Luke, we encounter prayers from two different people:

“O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity!”
“O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

The first prayer seems almost like a caricature of someone praying so intently and yet missing so much. This person has certainly missed his own shortcomings and instead highlights the problems of others. Rather than reflecting on areas he needs to improve, this person focuses on the ways that others have sinned.

The second prayer is a request for divine mercy that acknowledges personal failures. This person shows contrition by beating his breast, and he implores God to show him compassion. His posture and his words reflect humility, which the first person was clearly lacking. As we contemplate today’s Gospel, we should think about ways we can be self-critical and contrite in our prayers.

Reflecting on these readings about prayers can inform our own prayer life, as we are called to recognize our shortcomings and ask for God’s guidance and help.

The first reading also focuses on prayer, as God hears the prayers of those who are most in need. God is called a God of justice who “hears the cry of the oppressed.” Likewise, God hears the prayers of those who serve others. As we have seen in past readings, vulnerable groups such as orphans and widows are highlighted as receiving special divine care because they are frequently on the peripheries of society, lacking access and resources needed for advancement. In addition, the reference to the widow’s complaint and the image of God judging justly calls to mind the widow in last Sunday’s Gospel and her persistence in seeking justice.

Reflecting on these readings about prayers can inform our own prayer life, as we are called to recognize our shortcomings and ask for God’s guidance and help. Yet we are also reminded, especially in the first reading from Sirach, that we must work for justice. God’s compassion for the oppressed and openness to hearing their cries must inspire us to also hear their cries and respond accordingly. We must also remember to cry out for assistance if we are among the oppressed ourselves.

As we are in the midst of election season, justice should be at the forefront of our minds as we use our power at the ballot box. We must seek candidates who have put forth a vision of a society that supports and honors the needs of the poor, vulnerable and marginalized. And, as always, we must seek ways to serve those who are most in need.

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

City and state/province, or if outside Canada or the U.S., city and country. 
When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

The latest from america

Jan. 29, 2023, The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time: One of the Bible’s common motifs is that God honors those whom the world considers disgraced. The readings this Sunday illustrate dramatically this reversal of the status quo.
Victor Cancino, S.J.January 25, 2023
Jan. 22, 2023, The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: Like the original disciples, as we observe and discern Jesus’ specific actions and words, we can catch glimpses of the light that leads us into the land of the living.
Victor Cancino, S.J.January 18, 2023
Like the light of the Mission Mountains, the full experience of Jesus' salvation is a reality that cannot be captured in word or image, but must be entered and experienced to be understood.
Victor Cancino, S.J.January 11, 2023
Jan. 8, 2023, The Epiphany of the Lord: In this Sunday’s readings, the church reflects on the way that an insignificant place like Bethlehem drew the entire world to itself when it revealed the presence of God in the newborn Jesus.
Victor Cancino, S.J.January 04, 2023