Fr Paul Gooley reads today from the Gospel of Luke (18: 9-14) in which Jesus tells a parable about two men offering prayer in the temple: a Pharisee whose prayer is conceited and arrogant and a Tax Collector whose is humble (God, be merciful to me a sinner).

Fr Paul says Luke is the evangelist of prayer, and he frequently hints about it.

In this Gospel Jesus is explicitly mentioned as being in prayer more often than in any other, at the Baptism, the Transfiguration, when called upon to teach his disciples the Lord’s Prayer (3.21; 6.12; 11.1). The Agony in the Garden is shaped to show the need for prayer in time of testing (22.40). In the Infancy Narratives his characters burst into prayerful praise on every occasion, and from these we derive the three great canticles of the Church, the Magnificat, the Benedictus and the Nunc dimittis. His parables insist on the need for perseverance in prayer, especially the parables of the Friend at Midnight (11.5-8) and the Unjust Judge (18.1-5). So the message is to persevere!

Today, in this parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, Luke combines the serious with humour in a typically Lukan way. The pompous and self-congratulatory bragging of innocence by the Pharisee is to be avoided, while the humble self-accusation of the tax-collector is something to which we can all aspire.

Fr Paul invites us to reflect on today’s Gospel Question – Am I humble enough to admit my faults and failings and ask for God’s forgiveness?