Sermon October 23, 2016, a summary, The Reverend John Smith
The Way to Joy
This Sunday's Gospel is the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in the Temple. The Pharisee, a good and righteous man, prays to God, making a case for his personal righteousness. The Tax Collector prays from the back of the Temple, saying only "God, be merciful to me, a sinner." Jesus says that the Tax Collector went home righteous and not the Pharisee. Why? The Pharisee actually thnks he is "not like other people." He lives in a righteous, unrighteous, us them, good evil, dualistic world. The Tax Collector simply expresses his need for God's mercy and knows that everyone, including the Pharisee, needs this same mercy. He is one with all men and women in this need for God. He makes no judgments on other people, he is like everyone in need of God's forgiveness and love.
Do you remember reading in highschool j.d. salinger's Franny and Zoey? In the book is mentioned another book, the Way of the Pilgrim. The latter speaks of a young man's search for how to pray "unceasingly" as it says in Ist Thessalonians. A Russian holy man, teaches the young man the Jesus Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner. This prayer comes from the prayer of the Tax Collector in the Temple. Millions of people pray this prayer everyday. Rather than being depressing proclaiming our sinfulness, it leads to a deep peace and joy. You become one with all humanity in everyone's need for God love and mercy.
Jesus invites us not to wallow in our self-righteousness that cuts us off from other people and is full of striving, rivalry and worry over who's in or who's out, but to acknowledge our need for God, and everyone elses, even our enemies, and allow this truth to well up true joy within us. This is Good News!
Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English) meets for mass every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.
|The Reverend John Smith, Vicar|
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