Tenth Sunday after Pentecost - August 18, 2019
In the Epistle (1 Corinthians 12, 2-11) for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, St. Paul explains to the Corinthians who have emerged from paganism that every feature of the Christian religion is from God.
The various gifts, tongues, prophecies, etc., are dispensed by the Holy Ghost; the ministries of the Church, priesthood, diaconate, apostolate, come from Christ; supernatural operations, conversions and cures are assigned to the Father in virtue of His creative omnipotence. As for the Corinthians, so for us, this Epistle is a lesson in humility.
In the Gospel for this Sunday (Luke 18, 9-14) of St. Luke’s account, “I,” said the Pharisee, “am just, and all other men are sinners.” “Proud man,” comments St. Augustine, “here, in the proximity of a publican, is an opportunity to vaunt yourself still more. ‘This man,’ says the Pharisee, in effect, ‘is like all the rest. I differ from him by my just works, and thanks to these works, I am not a sinner.’ Look in these words for something asked of almighty God and you will find nothing. Having gone up to the temple to pray, he wishes to ask nothing of God but only to praise himself. Not only does he offer no prayer to God but he heaps praises upon himself, and much more than this, he goes so far as to insult one who does pray.
On the other hand the publican stands afar off yet he was near to God; the knowledge of his own heart keeps him at a distance but a sentiment of faith draws him near. To draw upon him the attention of almighty God he does not lift his eyes to Him; his conscience overwhelms him but hope raises him up. ‘He struck his breast, saying: O God be merciful to me a sinner!’ Here is a man who prays” (Matins). (St. Andrew Missal)