Good News: A Weekly Update from St Thomas—October 20, 2016
We pray that God may “…increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity…” Cultivating the Holy Habits of prayer, study, being part of a worshiping community, and generous giving can be important steps on the path of our daily journey to grow nearer to God. Often when we think of “charity” we immediately go to money: quarters in the quarter tube, checks in the offering plate, donations of goods for those in need. All of these are, indeed, worthy acts of charity.
But charity can also refer to how generous we are to others in how we consider them or even think about them. We read these words from one of Jesus’ parables in the gospel for this coming Sunday: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, `God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector...’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, `God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' “ The entire passage may be found in Luke 18:9- 14 at www.lectionarypage.net
The Pharisee knew nothing about this tax collector, other than his own assumptions based on the title and past reputation of tax collectors in general. He had no idea how the tax collector might be struggling in his life, or his circumstances.
The Pharisee could have shown charity to this tax collector – and to others – by being not so quick to judge them, or to use them to raise his own sense of self-righteousness. As it was, he missed out on countless opportunities to share the abundance of God’s love.
Let us pray: Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Peace and blessing,