|Tenth Sunday after Pentecost|
he First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, xii. 2-11. Brethren: You know that when you were heathens, you went to dumb idols, according as you were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man, speaking by the Spirit of God, saith Anathema to Jesus. And no man can say, the Lord Jesus, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of graces, but the same Spirit: and there are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord: and there are diversities of operations, but the same God, Who worketh all in all. And the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit. To one, indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom: and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: to another faith in the same Spirit: to another the grace of healing, in one Spirit: to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discerning of spirits, to another diverse kinds of tongues, to another interpretation of speeches. But all these things one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as He will.
As the Holy Ghost gave on Pentecost the gift of tongues, so also He imparted to the faithful many other gifts. This Holy Spirit works in different ways. He confers not only ordinary but extraordinary graces on whom He will, and how He will, as He finds it for the edification of the body of Christ, and whatever gift any one receives he must use for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, without being elated by it, since he has received it only as a pure grace.
he Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, According to St. Luke, xviii. 9-14. At that time, to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others, Jesus spoke this parable: Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee, standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give Thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men: extortioners, unjust, adulterers: as also is this publican; I fast twice in a week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven: but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner! I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather that the other, because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Why did Jesus recite the parable of the Pharisee and the publican?
To warn us against pride, ambition, and vanity in our good works, which thereby lose all their merits; to teach us not to despise or judge any man, although he should appear most impious; finally, to show us that if we would be heard in our prayers, we must appear before God with an humble and penitent heart.
Why was not the Pharisee's prayer acceptable to God?
Because it was not a prayer, but rather a boast; for he praised himself, attributing his good works to himself, instead of giving God glory for them. Thus despising and presumptuously judging others, he sinned the more against God, instead of making himself worthy of his praise.
Why was the prayer of the publican acceptable to God?
Because, though short, it was most humble and penitent. He did not, like the Pharisee, advance into the temple, but remained afar off, as though unworthy the presence of God and the fellowship of men. There he stood, with eyes cast down, in token that, for his sins, he was not worthy to look up to heaven; nay, he openly confessed himself a sinner, and in sorrow smote his breast, thereby punishing, as it were, says St. Augustine, the sins which had come from his heart.
Let us, then, be afraid of vainglory, like St. Ignatius, who said, "They who praise me scourge me "; and St. Hilary, who wept when he saw himself honored, because he was afraid of receiving his reward on earth. Learn to despise vainglory, and think of what St. Augustine says: "God is most high; exalt yourself, and He withdraws from you; humble yourself, and He comes down to you." Seek in all things not your own but God's glory; accustom yourself before every undertaking to raise your heart to God by making a good intention, and you will, like the publican, find grace before God.