Luke 18:9-14 Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Tax Collector: “O God, be merciful to me a sinner” Pastel: Ronald Raab, CSC


(Text: My column in parish bulletin)

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Today’s gospel (Luke18: 9-14) calls us to have a profound humility. A very smug Pharisee comes to the temple and speaks about himself rather than God. “O God, thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity, greedy, dishonest, adulterous…” Although this posture of prayer is focused on his keeping the rules, the Pharisee’s prayer backfires. His words are self-aggrandizing and there is no place for God to work since his heart is full of himself. The tax collector, in contrast, stays in the rear of the temple and keeps his eyes downcast and prays from his heart. “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

The tax collector is already known as an outcast. He comes to prayer realizing that his life is not right. With God, he becomes the real model of prayer. Jesus says the one who becomes humble will be exalted in the Kingdom of God.

Last week, the widow, who had no power in society, receives the attention of the judge. This week, a tax collector, gets the attention of Jesus. Humility changes everything. I have learned how to pray from people who are shunned by society. I have learned how to be honest about my own life from a man who suffered schizophrenia. I still hold him in my heart as a key to honesty.

I have learned dedication to what God can do from a woman who was beaten as a child. I still go to the temple of my own heart and pray for her. I have learned the immensity of God’s mercy from another woman who faced severe poverty, lost her husband and received a regrettable abortion. The situation terrorized her life. God’s forgiveness of her still motivates my own ministry.

I learn every week from people who humble themselves in our confessional. I cannot even imagine the density of loss and grief people face or the stone of sin that weighs down so many. I am humbled by the words of absolution when I raise my arm in prayer over the lives of so many people who struggle to find their way.

We cannot judge people who come to church to pray. We do not know the struggles of their hearts or the circumstances of their lives. We must learn from the humility of the sinner and the complex lives of how people survive in our world. Perhaps you can learn profound humility in your own prayer.

Peace be with you,

Fr. Ron

Psalm 24:”…that longs to see your face…”


“…that longs to see your face…” Charcoal: Ronald Raab, CSC

Responsorial Psalm Ps 24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

R. (see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Text: My column from our parish bulletin

Dear Believers in Jesus Christ,

Today’s gospel (Luke 18:1-8) is about patient persistence. A widow keeps approaching a judge for justice. She does not give up even when she is tuckered out. The judge finally gives in because the widow wears him down.

This text and the widow’s persistence can be compared to our own prayer life. We often become tired of praying for peace or coming to God about our grandchildren. We become exhausted struggling to make ends meet or praying our loved one survives a surgery or gets a new job. Prayer is exhausting. So many times our prayers are not answered the way we think they should be and we give up. Sometimes we unfold our hands and throw up our fists to God is shear frustration.

We cannot give up in our relationship with God, even though we may become tuckered out and exhausted by what life throws at us. Although our prayers may not be answered the way we want, we must remain consistent in our search and diligent in our prayers. We pray so that we can remain in the person of Jesus Christ. The more we pray without clinging to results, the closer we become to the heart of Jesus. Our persistence in prayer forms our lives. We finally, then, let go of our expectations about how we think life should be for ourselves and our fellow human beings.

Life is really tough. Life is no less tough in the Church. Yet, our individual and common prayer becomes a life formation tool. This tool carves a unique place within our hearts – a place of compassion, mercy and forgiveness. We cannot live the Christian life without praying every day. We cannot be formed by only greed, self-righteousness, anger, control or the desire to always be right. When we pray, we are then formed by the graces God provides for us, the graces that soften our hearts. These graces form our hearts into becoming a more loving and forgiving people.

One of the ways in which we can respect all life is to pray. In the gospel, the judge finally gave up his self-protecting behavior and granted the woman her justice. The widow was without power in her society. Even though we may not have the place in the Church or in our family that we think we should have, God listens to us. God listens to our pleas and creates hope within our exhaustion.


Fr. Ron

The Widow II

“The Widow” Ronald Raab, CSC

Luke 12:1-7, “…do not be afraid…”


“…do not be afraid…” Sketch: Ronald Raab, CSC

Gospel Lk 12:1-7

At that time:
So many people were crowding together
that they were trampling one another underfoot.
Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples,
“Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees.

“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness
will be heard in the light,
and what you have whispered behind closed doors
will be proclaimed on the housetops.
I tell you, my friends,
do not be afraid of those who kill the body
but after that can do no more.
I shall show you whom to fear.
Be afraid of the one who after killing
has the power to cast into Gehenna;
yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.
Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.”

Prayer: (Ronald Raab, CSC)
God of mercy,
help us up from our falls into fear and hopelessness.
Give us courage to rest in the Holy Spirit and to know we are valued more than sparrows.
Release us from our sense of unworthiness and give us
The wisdom to speak to you in the night, where your mercy is revealed.
We do not escape your notice.
We ask this in the name of our Savior, Christ the Lord.


1 Gal 5:18-25 “If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.”


“Those who belong to Christ” Drawing: Ronald Raab, CSC

Reading 1 Gal 5:18-25

Brothers and sisters:
If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry,
sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy,
outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness,
dissensions, factions, occasions of envy,
drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I warned you before,
that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such there is no law.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh
with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.
Questions: (Raab)
1. What does it mean for you to be guided by the Spirit?
2. How do you live the fruits of the Spirit?
3. How does faith change you? Do you live differently?
4. How do you follow the Spirit?