We are still in this month of October, the month of Mary and as wished by the Holy Father, in the month of mission. The rosary is a prayer that connects us with Mary and Mary will tell us, 'do everything that He tells you' In this Sunday we are given a beautiful parable that asks us to be active in our mission and contemplative in our relationship with God. This parable confirms to us that prayer alone cannot save us. Prayer should help us live a righteous life before God. Since prayer is a relationship with God, we must have a good relationship that is just before God, with all men, including the whole creation. God cares for all, especially the poor. In prayer we are transformed and it pushes us towards others, because in prayer we become the missionaries of the Lord.
The Gospel of the day presents two men, a Pharisee and a publican in prayer. One in pride and arrogance, came to justify himself and for self-glory before the Lord, simply to fulfil his duty, to be right in front of the people, without recognizing that this glory belongs to God and the divine justice, is another thing that he understood nothing of it. Instead of giving thanks to God for the good He received, he allowed himself to make fun of others who are weak. The other in all humility has put himself before the Lord, and asks for grace. The Lord confirms to us that it was the publican who was right before God.
This Pharisee of the Gospel of the day is in this thanksgiving. He gives thanks to the Lord for all that he has received. Yet he locks himself up. He sees only him, he turns to himself as the good and the just before the Lord. Before this God who is a judge who makes no difference from man, and before the mercy of God, he finds himself guilty of arrogance, pride, selfishness, and individualism . Pride and vain glory, clothed with false piety, drive us away from God.
The gospel of the day speaks to us of the distance. The distance which the publican of the gospel of the day has respected, was a distance between the perfection of divine holiness and his infidelity. Nor was it a distance from the visible space, but an invisible distance that God made disappear from Him and this publican. Burning charity saint Claret wanted to fulfil the divine will, to destroy any distance that separates us from the divine love. If God found this publican righteous, it was because he was ready to receive the grace and forgiveness of God, in contrary the Pharisee only wanted to fulfil the Law of Moses. Conversion helps us to destroy every kind of distance that separates us from the Lord and to build the bridge that will connect us with God in a permanent way.
Salvation is a fruit of grace and divine mercy, never a conquest of our abilities and merits. But it is sometimes difficult for us to accept this truth which is at the heart of the Gospel.
God invites us to proclaim this gospel of mercy. Let us pray that all men can hear and welcome this Good News that the Lord brings to us in the Eucharist we are celebrating today, Amen.