PRIDE IS JUST THE SYMPTOM (Lk 18:9-14): 24 October 2010 (Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

PRIDE IS JUST THE SYMPTOM (Lk 18:9-14):  24 October 2010 (Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Today’s Readings

Two people are praying in the temple, but God is hearing very different prayers.  The first, a Pharisee, claims his place–presumably, the “best seat in the house”–as he recites his feel-good prayer; the other, a tax collector, is huddled at the back of the temple.  The Pharisee sounds like he’s thanking God, but if you listen carefully, he’s really just praising himself.  The tax collector, on the other hand, can hardly look up in shame, managing only to beg for mercy.

Our Lord concludes by saying that it is the sinner who leaves the temple justified and talks about the reversals that will befall the proud and the humble:

“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Continue reading PRIDE IS JUST THE SYMPTOM (Lk 18:9-14): 24 October 2010 (Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

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DOES PRAYER REALLY WORK? (Luke 18:1-8): 17 October 2010 (Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

DOES PRAYER REALLY WORK? (Luke 18:1-8):  17 October 2010 (Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Today’s Reading

Note:  A version of this homily was delivered in Xavier School last October 6, 2010, but it fits our Gospel Reading today.

About five years ago, an interesting scientific research was conducted by a team of doctors.  The study is called STEP, which stands for “Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer.” The research is interesting because it’s a kind of experiment on the effects of prayer on patients undergoing a delicate surgery called CABG–or Coronary Artery Bypass Graft.

The doctors behind STEP wanted to answer two research questions:

First: Does intercessory prayer–or praying for the patients–help them recover from surgery?

Second:  Are there benefits if the patients are assured of prayers?  In other words, do they recover faster? I’d like to talk about this today because in today’s Gospel reading, our Lord asks us to pray–even nag Him like the persistent widow who never gave up on the judge. Continue reading DOES PRAYER REALLY WORK? (Luke 18:1-8): 17 October 2010 (Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

THE MEMORY OF ONE’S LEPROSY (Luke 17:11-19): 10 October 2010 (Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

THE MEMORY OF ONE’S LEPROSY (Luke 17:11-19): 10 October 2010 (Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Today’s Reading

Today leprosy is considered a thing of the past.  No longer the dreaded biblical scourge that it used to be, it is relatively easy to cure these days, thanks to a multi-drug therapy developed in the 1980s and declared its definitive cure.  Leprosy has today become the forgotten disease.

A visit to Isla Culion a couple of weeks ago, however, helped me remember.The island, the country’s largest leper’s colony for nearly a century from 1906 to 1992, bears a history that reminds us of the stigma of the disease. In 1906, armed men rounded up thousands of victims of leprosy from all over the country to ship them to Culion for segregation and treatment. Continue reading THE MEMORY OF ONE’S LEPROSY (Luke 17:11-19): 10 October 2010 (Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time)