October 23, 2022

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

  • First reading and Psalm
    • Joel 2:23-32
    • Psalm 65
  • Alternate First reading and Psalm
    • Sirach 35:12-17 or Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22
    • Psalm 84:1-7
  • Second reading
    • 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
  • Gospel
    • Luke 18:9-14
Pharisee and the Publican
1886-1894 Tissot, James
Brooklyn Museum
New York,NY

The gospel from Luke 18:9-14
Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt:

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Pastor Stevenson this week told us about a cousin who has for a long time tried in her letters to convince him to change his religious beliefs. He finally drew a line in the sand and wrote back. She was like the Pharisee in our gospel reading this week. If we read it carefully, Luke states at the beginning that the parable is directed at the Pharisee. But both characters, the Pharisee and the tax collector, are ambiguous. Initially the Pharisee is a positive figure and the tax collector is like today’s drug dealer who is banned due to being convicted of drug possession. But there is hope for the tax collector. In the end the tax collector is justified. God will make sinners righteous. As in verse 1 of our Hymn of the Day, “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy, like the wideness of the sea ,,,,,,,there is no place where earth’s failings have such kindly judgement given.”……..

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