October 23, 2022 Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Welcome Father Martin Today’s Readings: Sir 35:12-14, 16-18 | 2 Tm 4:6-8, 16-18 | Lk 18:9-14

Psalm response: The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Both our first reading today and our Gospel reading clearly indicate that God looks past the heroic and successful, those who think that they are the beautiful people, to pour his love on the underdogs, the unsuccessful, the disposable people. At first glance, however, that doesn’t seem to be what the Lord is doing: the poor remain poor, the sick continue to be sick, and those suffering injustice are still being ground under – and often enough at the hands of “good Catholics” or even at times the Church itself.

After all the time since Jesus came and began working with us humans through a Church of human beings guided by the Spirit, we still have those “poor” among us, just as Jesus foretold. If God loves the little ones, why doesn’t he do more for them? Shouldn’t we see some results?

It may well be because the Church Jesus established is a Pilgrim People, always trying to get closer to God by our prayer and the lives that flow from that. And that is good, if we accept that God loves us as we do our earnest best to be his and not because we achieve clear and enduring results. But, and this is a big but, we are also active members of Christ’s Mystical Body: if God is actively loving the world he is in a sense using our hearts, and if he is solving the world’s problems he is using our minds, and if he is feeding and healing and lifting up the poor he is using our hands – and we, as a group, do not do as well at all that as we would wish. The question still remains then: if God is at work through us, why doesn’t he reach better results?

Karl Rahner once noted that being a true Christian does not lie in reaching success; to the contrary it is a life of betrayal of our ideals and human hopes, of anything that we can measure. It is always, for our spiritual life as well as for what we endeavor in Christ’s name, a matter of leaving everything in God’s hands to perfect: God created us humans as radically imperfect beings, and he alone will bring that perfection to us. He writes straight with our crooked lines, but he loves our scribbles and scratches because it is us, his beloved children, who are offering them as our gift to him…

The Kingdom is not only a destination, it is a journey – a pilgrimage – and the true pilgrims are not those who ride in comfort but those who help the other pilgrims along the way.

Source of reflection: © 2022, Chas Kestermeier S.J., on https://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/102322.html Source of image: “Publican and Pharisee Icon”, by Ted on https://www.flickr.com/photos/frted/5445613926/in/photostream/ (CC BY-SA 2.0)