Reflection Sun 23 October
Readings: Ps 34; 2 Tim 4:6-8; Luke 18:9-14
Who knows what others endure? Who knows of another person’s quiet desperation? God alone.
Unchosen poverty has many different faces. As humans it is so easy to judge, so easy to give advice. I know – I do it myself: ‘They should do this or that’. Thus the timeless wisdom: ‘walk a mile in their shoes’. And that assumes they have shoes.
Ultimately, our salvation comes through our relationships. These are the situations in which that which is good in us is affirmed and points of growth are revealed. My experience is that my awareness of my own shortcomings increases my compassion towards others. In that way we can echo the tax collector in today’s Gospel by praying: ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner’. The next time we wish to judge someone else, we should remember we do not know of other people’s struggles.
When the ‘Lord hears the cry of the poor’, may we hear it too. May we open our hearts and be God’s hands, in whatever small way, to lift someone else up. As Mary Mackillop said, ‘never see a need without doing something about it’. Then we will be able to echo Paul in today’s second reading: ‘I have competed well; I have finished the race’.