Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Ave Maria!
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost—24 July AD 2016

[Ordinary of the Mass]
[English Text]
[Latin Text]

    In the Entrance Hymn this morning we read a little bit of Psalm fifty‑four:

“Cast thy care upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.”[1]

    We’ll come back to that in a moment, but first, in order to understand today's Gospel it helps to know what a Pharisee is and what a publican is.[2]   The Pharisees were the descendants of the Machabees, about whom we can read in the two Old Testament books by that name.[3]  They were heroes of the Jewish people, having taken back Jerusalem and it's Temple from foreign invaders.  They were known for their zeal in keeping the Law of Moses.  Indeed, by the time of Christ they had a reputation for wanting to be seen keeping the Law.  For example, the Law prescribed tassels on a man's  clothing, so the Pharisees had the biggest possible tassels—they wanted to be seen keeping the Law.

    A publican was a tax collector—never an occupation popular with the productive classes—but even worse in Jewish society for the publican was seen as a traitor—a Jew who collected taxes for the hated Roman occupational forces.  Perhaps even worse, the publican might extort additional tax money and keep it for himself.

    In today's parable our Lord demonstrates the importance of humility.  The prayer of the Pharisee is worthless in God’s eyes for all he is doing is boasting about himself.  He refuses to acknowledge his own faults and even tries to call God’s attention to the supposed faults of the publican.  The publican, on the other hand, recognizes his own shortcomings and begs God's forgiveness: “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” It is the publican and not the Pharisee who leaves the Temple in God's good graces.

    We are called to heed this lesson in our lives.  The Psalmist tells us that God: “has regard to the prayer of the humble: and He has not despised their petition.”[4]  We are called to humility.  In our prayers, of course, but also in our day to day conduct.  In everything we do, we should recognize that all of our talents come from God, and that by exercising those talents we give glory to God.  Saint James tells us in his Epistle: “God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.”[5]  One ought not to boast, but neither should one display a false humility by boasting of one’s imagined shortcomings.  If God gave you a particular talent or ability you should not be ashamed to use it.  It is not sinful pride to do things well, to have pride in one's workmanship or in maintaining a decent appearance.

    Sinful pride comes from thinking oneself to be better than others, or in thinking that one has talents independently of God.

    In today's Epistle, Saint Paul is reminding the Corinthians that all of their spiritual benefits (and even a few physical benefits) are the work of the Holy Ghost.[6]  It is no different for us.  When we come to pray, either in church or at home, we should humble ourselves and call upon the Holy Ghost to form our prayers. Ideally, we give ourselves over to the Holy Ghost, for as Saint Paul says:  “all these things one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as He will.”  “According as He will,” and not as we will.   Remember that God knows all of our needs, and He knows how those needs should be satisfied, much better than we know.

    It is not wrong to petition God for specific things.  Doing so acknowledges our dependence on Him and is a perfectly reasonable and praiseworthy form of prayer.  Yet it is more perfect to state only our wants and needs and let God determine how they are to be satisfied.  You will recall that our Lady got her Divine Son to work His first miracle with nothing more that the phrase “they have no wine.”[7]  She did not waste His time telling Him how she thought He should fix the problem.

    The Church also has us call upon the Angels and the saints. Our guardian angel is appointed specifically to watch over us and ought to be no stranger to our prayers.  The saints are all men and women who once faced many of the same trials and tribulations that we face—they are sympathetic, and they enjoy God's favor.  Some of them have even been designated by the Church as patron saints and “helpers” with specific human problems.  Of course, our Lady is a sort of “universal patron saint.”

    So prayer should always be humble.  God does not need to hear how wonderful we are.  And always pray in the in the Holy Ghost, Who always knows precisely what will be of greatest benefit to us.

“Cast thy care upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.”


Dei via est íntegra
Our Lady of the Rosary, 144 North Federal Highway (US#1), Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441  954+428-2428
Authentic  Catholic Mass, Doctrine, and Moral Teaching -- Don't do without them -- 
Don't accept one without the others!