Sunday October 23
Fixing our eyes upon Jesus, the author of our faith
  • Sirach 35:15-17,20-22
  • Psalm 34:2-3,17-19,23
  • 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
  • Luke 18:9-14

In the first reading Sirach proclaims “The Lord is a God of justice” and this justice shows no partiality. On the surface it would seem that justice and mercy cannot co-exist. Yet they exist in their fullest capacity in our God who is the God of infinite justice and infinite mercy!
The Lord reconciles these seemingly irreconcilable virtues in himself as he hangs on the cross, satisfying the demands of justice, by selflessly pouring out his life blood in atonement for our sin, which becomes a river of infinite mercy, to which we can turn.
In today’s second reading we see St. Paul at the end of his earthly journey. How changed is this life from the early life of St. Paul as a Pharisee and persecutor of Christians? St. Paul has the fulfillment in his heart that his life has been well lived, he has no regrets, but is confident of his reward from God.
Here we see a life that has had its foundation and base centered on the Lord Jesus. The self-giving love that our Lord Jesus demonstrated on the cross has been evident in St. Paul’s life too. We see now his unwavering confidence in God even as he faces trials, cruelty and death.
In the Gospel proclamation in contrast we see the Pharisee, whose eyes are fixed on himself and those around him and not on God, even his prayer is a prayer of comparison and self-glorification. But the tax collector though he may have done many wrong things in his life, humbly fixes his eyes on God, and as he does so, sees his own reflection, as a sinner, and prays a prayer we can all pray, for we are all sinners before God and in need of God’s infinite mercy.
Touched by this incomparable love our lives can never be the same. When we turn and fix our gaze upon our beautiful Saviour in humility, admitting our nothingness before his completeness, and open ourselves in complete submission to our mighty God, we allow his transformative nature to work in our own lives.
Humility is the door that leads us to God’s mercy, it is the gate by which we stop looking at ourselves and those around us and instead fix our gaze upon the One who can change us and make us whole. A life time thus spent gazing upon our Lord and Saviour transforms us little by little into the image of him upon whom we gaze. And someday on the fulfillment of our own earthly journey, a life thus transformed will enable us too, like St Paul to proclaim with confidence “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.”

Prayer: Abba Father, may I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus alone.Amen.

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