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    St. Mary's Parish
    211 Avenue O South
    Saskatoon, SK
    S7M 2R6

    Phone: 306 244 2983
    Fax: 306 242 6461
    stmarysrectory@sasktel.net

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  • Mass Times

    Sunday Masses
    Saturday: 7pm
    Sunday: 9am, 11am,
    1pm Aboriginal Mass with Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish
    4pm mass in Spanish

    Weekday Mass Times:
    Monday to Saturday: 9am
    Wednesday: 9am, 7:15pm


    Perpetual Help Devotions at both Wednesday Masses

    Adoration and Benediction on First Saturdays following the 9:00 AM Mass until 12:00 Noon
  • Reconciliation

    Saturday: 4-5pm, 6-6:45pm
    Sunday: 12:30-1pm (Guadalupe Parish)
    Sunday: 3-4pm in Spanish
    Wednesday: 6:30-7pm

    Or by appointment
  • Office Hours

    Monday to Friday
    8:30am to 12 Noon
    12:30pm to 4:00pm

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Pray with Humility

By Fr. Frank Reitzel, C.R.

The reading from Sirach is a remarkable admonition reminding us that God cannot be bribed. The reading refers to possible dishonest sacrifices and implies the conclusion that what makes worship dishonest is a certain easy self-righteousness (Scripture Scholar, Dr. Dennis Hamm, S.J.). The passage suggests that many people come to the place of worship more to glorify themselves than to give honour to their God. Sirach, however, reminds the reader that this is not the kind of prayer that is effective. It is rather the prayer of the humble person which has the best chance – the prayer of the one who acknowledges his/her powerlessness –or those more diminished – the one who is unrelenting in his/her sense of compassion and forgiveness.

The message here is that only those who can acknowledge their own human weaknesses feel the need to turn to God in prayer with genuine humility. They know that any goodness they might reveal is itself a gift from God. But those who stand before God and others with the attitude “Look what I have made of myself” will hardly realize the need to ask for God’s help in doing good. They presume that they can manage by themselves.

Our passage from Second Timothy looks in some ways that Paul resembles both the Pharisee and the tax collector. Like the Pharisee, he boasts of his accomplishments. He has competed well; he has finished the race; he has kept the faith; he was earned a crown of righteousness. Paul never denies the character of his commitment or the extent of his success as a preacher. But like the tax collector, he knows the source of his ability to accomplish these things. “The Lord stood by me and gave me strength.” Paul admits that all the glory belongs to God. Without God, Paul knows that he would likely have remained alien to Jesus and the Christian Church.

In today’s Gospel, the Pharisee very likely did live a life free of greed and dishonesty suggests scholar and Professor Dianne Bergant, O.S.A. He probably did fast and tithe. But he did not acknowledge that it was the goodness of God that enabled him to act in a righteous way. He believed that it was his own greatness that lifted him up above others. On the other hand, in order to gain a livelihood, the tax collector probably extorted money from tax payers. He was a sinner, and he knew it. But he also knew that only God could lift him up. It was his honest and humble demeanour that won God’s praise.

In the body of Christ there is no room for arrogance. We are human beings with weaknesses that can trip us up if we are not vigilant. We are all poor and lowly, in need of the protection and strength that comes to us from God. This parable, taken together with the parable of last week (the widow and the unjust judge) is Luke’s attempt to highlight, in a graphic manner, the importance of prayer in the life of the disciple. For Luke, prayer is faith in action. It is much more than an optional exercise in piety, and it is meant to demonstrate a quality relationship with the Lord. In fact, prayer is that relationship. Therefore the way one prays is an ongoing measure of the quality of that relationship. So if I do not “cry out day and night” to the Lord, then very likely my prayer is not what it can be, nor is my faith-life as nurturing as it should be because that is what faith does: it cries out without ceasing; it is a growth process that has no prescribed limits or boundaries. From God’s perspective, this “crying out” is a faith response to God’s reaching out to us in love and compassion. It is a response that now allows God to move into our lives with the fullness of God’s Spirit, now allowing the one who prays, access to the splendour of the presence of God and access to the bountiful gifts of God’s Spirit.

10-october-23-2016

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