When Prayer Becomes About Us

Additional thoughts on today’s readings.

Dating God

pharisee-tax-collector_472_314_80The scripture scholar Luke Timothy Johnson has a very telling comment about today’s Gospel passage, which centers on the parable of the self-righteous pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). Johnson says: “For Luke, prayer is faith in action. Prayer is not an optional exercise in piety, carried out to demonstrate one’s relationship with God. It is that relationship with God.”

This is a very striking parable, one that gets me every time. It challenges the hearers to examine themselves in such a way as to confront with honesty the truth that (a) we are indeed all sinners and (b) that it is far too common a human trait to be like the pharisee, to “pray” to God by looking out of the corner of our eyes and seeing those against whom we compare ourselves with despising or scorning (exoutheneo) glances and judgments.

How often do we find…

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About William Ockham

I am a father of two with eclectic interests in theology, philosophy and sports. I chose the pseudonym William Ockham in honor of his contributions to philosophy, specifically Occam's Razor, and its contributions to modern scientific theory. My blog (www.teilhard.com) explores Ignatian Spirituality and the intersection of faith, science and reason through the life and writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (pictured above).
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3 Responses to When Prayer Becomes About Us

  1. CJ Gonzalez says:

    Loved this post, but sure was sad to see it followed by an ad supporting hydraulic fracturing gas extraction as a great way for communities to “cash in,” ignoring the DEVASTATION this industry is having on the environment, one i’m pretty sure Teilhard would be quite outspoken against as part of his creation stewardship world view.

    Peace, Carol

    CJ Gonzalez

    • Hi Carol:

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I agree with you that Teilhard would disagree with any environmental damage that comes from fracturing or other industries. I am guessing that the ad you saw was on the site that was linked rather than my own. I have purchased a WordPress upgrade that eliminates advertising to avoid the problems you mentioned (although if you did see it on my site let me know and I will fix it with WordPress). Unfortunately, WordPress does not make this feature prominent and other bloggers take advantage of the excellent free WordPress platform but are subject to third-party advertising that they do not select. If you see any advertising on those sites, I would recommend ignoring the ads and do not associate those ads with the blogs.

      Peace,
      W. Ockham

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