Mission Society of the Philippines


30th Sunday C

WE HEARD ANOTHER parable in the gospel this Sunday and Jesus addresses this parable to those who are so proud of their own righteousness and those who also despised others.  Jesus starts narrating the parable with the words: “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.”

The Pharisee said his prayer like this, “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector.”  The Pharisee then said to God, “I fast twice a week and I pay tithes on my whole income.” It clearly shows that the Pharisee believed that he was the righteous to most people. He was also confident that God was very pleased with him.

The tax collector stood off at a distance to pray.  The man was so humble that he could not raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”  The tax collector was not degrading himself, he just spoke the truth: “I am a sinful man.”  Then, the Lord Jesus said to his disciples: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

With that, I come to a reflection that all leaders in our society, in our world, need to possess humility, at least to some degree. Leaders should realize that no one has all the answers or solutions to all the problems in this world.  This is true also in the Church, government, corporations, organizations, teams, families and in any group of people who come together for a purpose.  

Humility does not mean that we degrade ourselves or pretend to be less than we are.  So, what then is humility? For me, humility means that we recognize and acknowledge that we are not a “Jack of all trades!” All of us have limitations. Our gifts and talents have limitations.  No one person has the answer to all questions. Humble people always open his heart to listen and ask for an advice or wisdom.  

Jesus does not want us to degrade ourselves, nor does he want us to be proud of our own righteousness to the point of exalting ourselves.  God has gifted us with many gifts and talents. However, God did not give everything to us so that we may remain humble and realize that we need each other’s help.

Today, let us ask ourselves: when was the time when we have shared our gifts and talents?  Let us always give thanks to God for the many gifts He gave, which in return we must share to others. Also, we must give thanks for the many people who have shared their insights and talents with us.  Together, we can improve the society and the world, and we can make it a loving and peaceful place!


Fr. Anton Crema, MSP

Diocese of Kyoto, Japan

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