Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
1. “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds.” How are the orphan, the widow, and the oppressed mentioned in the reading, lowly or humble? Name some people you know who fit this description. What does humility look like on them? How is your humility; are you honest with God?
2. Do you do anything when you hear the cry of the oppressed, the wail of the orphan or the widow’s complaint? Is there something you could do that you are not doing now, to help anyone in need? How is our own Pope Francis like Sirach in biblical times?
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
1. Do you feel like you are sometimes being “poured out like a libation,” or that everyone has deserted you? What do you think Paul did to combat these feelings in himself? What do you think would help you?
2. Paul was rescued from “the lion’s mouth” and he trusted that he would be safe from every evil threat. What are the evil threats to the earth? To the Church? What are threats to you? How is your trust?
1. Is the Pharisee saying the prayer to God or to himself? If you were in God’s place, which kind of prayer would you answer first? Of the two praying, which one has a sincere heart?
2. According to Pope Francis, God has a weakness for the humble ones, and their prayers open God’s heart wide. Which heart can God fill with his mercy, the humble empty one, or the one that keeps track of all his/her good deeds and his/her neighbors’ misdeeds?
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now turn to the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Gospel). Jesus contrasts the arrogance and self-righteousness of the Pharisee’s prayer with the tax collector’s humble recognition of his sinfulness and need for the Lord’s mercy. True prayer is born of a heart which repents of its faults and failings, yet pleads for the grace to live the great commandment of love of God and neighbor. Indeed, the proud disdain of the Pharisee for the sinner at his side prevents him from being righteous in God’s sight. To pray well, then, we need to look into our own hearts and there, in humble silence, let the Lord speak to us. The honesty and humility which God asks of us is the necessary condition for our receiving his mercy.
General Audience, June 1, 2016
**From Saint Louis University