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Scripture of the Week


Reflection on the DAILY SCRIPTURES can be found at the following links:

'Our Daily Prayer' - Jesuit Communications (Australia) 

Commentaries on the Daily Readings from SACREDSPACE (Ireland) 

Readings and Reflections on the day's Scripture (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) 

Daily Readings and Reflections (Passionist Fathers - USA) 

Commentary on the Gospel Reading for each day of the month (Dominican Fathers - Ireland)  


Reflect on the Sunday Scriptures with:

Sr. Veronica Lawson rsm   SEE BELOW

Fr. John McKinnon click here

Fr. John Thornhill  click here



First Reading - Sir 35:12-14, 16-18

The prayer of the humble will penetrate the heavens.

The Lord is a judge
who is no respecter of personages.
He shows no respect of personages to the detriment of a poor man,
he listens to the plea of the injured party.
He does not ignore the orphan's supplication,
nor the widow's as she pours out her story.

The man who with his whole heart serves God will be accepted,
his petitions will carry to the clouds.
The humble man’s prayer pierces the clouds,
until it arrives he is inconsolable
nor will he desist until the Most High takes notice of him,
acquits the virtuous and delivers judgement.
And the Lord will not be slow,
nor will he be dilatory on their behalf.

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 32:2-3. 17-19. 23. R. v.7

(R.) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Second Reading - 2 Tm 4:6-8, 16-18

All that remains is the crown of righteousness reserved for me.

My life is already being poured away as a libation, and the time has come for me to be gone. I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his Appearing.

The first time I had to present my defence, there was not a single witness to support me. Every one of them deserted me – may they not be held accountable for it. But the Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear; and so I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from all evil attempts on me, and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel Acclamation

2 Cor 5:19

Alleluia, alleluia!

God was in Christ, to reconcile the world to himself;

and the Good News of reconciliation he has entrusted to us.


Gospel - Lk 18:9-14

The publican returned to his home justified; the pharisee did not.

Jesus spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on being virtuous and despised everyone else, ‘Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, “I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of mankind, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get.” The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven; but he beat his breast and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” This man, I tell you, went home again at rights with God; the other did not. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’

Gospel Reflection:

The parable of the Pharisee and the toll collector follows that of the persistent widow and the unjust judge. Luke frames the parable with comments about being just or in right relationship (translated “virtuous”) and justified (translated “at rights with God”). It is addressed to “certain people” who will find a mirror image of themselves in the first of the characters, the Pharisee. Historically, the Pharisees were honorable people, well-versed in Jewish religious traditions and faithful in observing the Law. They made up a very small percentage of the population. In the gospels, they often appear as code for religious leadership that is self-focused, contemptuous of others, and out of touch with the struggle of ordinary people’s lives. In Luke, some of the Jesus’ harshest condemnation is reserved for the Pharisees of the gospel.

The Pharisee goes up to the Jerusalem Temple to pray. There is no surprise in this. That is what Pharisees do. More surprising is the identification of the other person who also heads for the Temple to pray, a toll collector or tax agent, a man in the pay of the occupying forces, not exactly a person to be trusted and certainly not one connected with proper worship. The Pharisee prays “to himself” or “by himself” or “about himself”: any one of the three translations is possible. He prays with his eyes cast sideways towards his thieving prayer companion. He prides himself on going beyond the prescriptions of the Law. The toll collector, in contrast, stands at a distance, eyes cast down, beating his breast, acknowledging his need for God’s mercy and recognizing God as the source of compassion and forgiveness. For an audience who “have confidence in themselves that they are righteous”, this portrait of the tax agent in right relationship with God is confronting. For such people, being a tax agent is synonymous with being unrighteous.

The language of the toll collector’s prayer, “God be merciful (hilasth?ti) to me a sinner”, evokes the prayer of a young man of Judah who, almost two centuries before, had seen his brothers die for their faith and who was himself facing death. The young man acknowledged the waywardness of his people, praying that God would be merciful to them and deliver them from persecution (2 Maccabees 7:37). The toll collector of the Lukan parable is more in tune with the faith tradition of his people than is its respected guardian, the Pharisee. Once again, right relationship with God and others is less a matter of who we are or what we do than the spirit in which we do it. There is no room for self-righteousness in a gospel way of life. We all need to admit our failings with humility, turn to God for forgiveness, and change our ways. Right now, this is what we are called to do as a human community that has failed to respect the integrity of the natural world and has exploited it for our own selfish ends.  We can learn from the tax collector.

 Sr Veronica Lawson rsm

© The scriptural quotations are taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Co Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. The English translation of the Psalm Responses, the Alleluia and Gospel Verses, and the Lenten Gospel Acclamations, and the Titles, Summaries, and Conclusion of the Readings, from the Lectionary for Mass © 1997, 1981, 1968, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.









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