Three weeks ago, the Gospel of St. Luke told us that we need to pray with faith, in that Gospel, Jesus said “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamine tree, ‘Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Telling us that in our prayer life, we need to have quality faith.
Faith doesn’t have to be big but it has to be of good quality and once the faith is qualitative, then you can do the impossible. It not as if you would go outside and be uprooting trees everywhere, No. That is not the message. The message is that you can do that which people think is impossible.
Two weeks ago, we also sew where Jesus used the story of the ten lepers to tell us to learn to give thanks. Before you ask God to give you anything, thank Him that you are alive, give Him thanks for his grace and mercies.
So, as you have strong faith, learn to be a thanks giver.
Last Sunday, we saw the poor widow and the unjust judge, Jesus teaching us how to be persistence in prayer. Persistently the poor widow continued to demand justice from the unjust judge and the unjust judge said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming.” This tells us to persevere in prayer.
The Gospel of 30th Sunday in Year C is still on prayer and Jesus is teaching how not to pray. In the Gospel text, Jesus said “for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” And in the first reading, Sirach tells us that “The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds” and so, Jesus is trying to tell us that God is moved by humility.
Whenever we humble ourselves to pray, God hears. But when we come before God and we are proud, then our prayers cannot be answered. And so, we must therefore acknowledge the fact that anytime we come before God we are nothing. It does not matter who you are, before God you are nothing.
If you have all the money in the world, before God you are nothing. And so, when you come before God, you must acknowledge your nothingness. You must acknowledge that there is nothing in you so that God can give you His grace.
How to pray humbly before God
- Acknowledge your sinfulness – you must acknowledge that you are a sinner before God.
Brothers and Sisters, we are all sinners before God. That is why in the Penitential Rite of the Mass, we say “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. In what I have done, and in what I have failed to do.” Recognizing that we are all sinners before God. And so, for you to pray with humbly before God, you must first acknowledge your sinfulness.
Don’t begin to pray without acknowledging your sinfulness because the prayer of a sinner is an abomination before God, ask for mercy because you are a sinner.
- Don’t count the sins of others – don’t look at the sins of others and point it out neglecting your own. Don’t begin to point out the sins of others forgetting that you are a sinner in your own degree. We all sin differently. When we want to pray, we should focus on our sins and not the sins of others.
The simple reason why two men went to pray, one prayer was answered the other prayer was not answered was humility. One was humble, the other was proud.
Humility in prayer grants access to God. When you are not humble, God can not hear that type of prayer.
We continue to pray that as we humble ourselves and ask God for His mercy, that He would grant us forgiveness through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Homily by Rev. Fr. Timothy Ejeh