The Lord hears the cry of the poor. These are the words we hear today in the Psalm. The same sentiments are echoed in the gospel, but the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
As children, many of us were probably told, don’t cry and don’t beg, you need to be grown up. And yet, it says here in our readings that, “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.” It is in our moments of weakness, our moments of desperation that we turn to God and cry out for him. This is a time that we are vulnerable, that we are truly open to receive God’s mercy. The Pharisee in our gospel is well respected and has money, respect, and friends. He has no need for God but only to obey his rules. And, he sure is proud of these rules he is obeying. I have found it interesting how the rich, the powerful, the famous seem to have such a hard time reaching God’s. If someone is never hungry, they have no need to eat, if they are never thirsty, they have no need for drink. Those who can recognize their need of a savior are truly blessed. When we are reduced to weakness, when we allow ourselves to become vulnerable, then God can work in us and we will be exalted.
How do we adopt that spirit of vulnerability? How do we humble ourselves before God? I have a friend that I used to play golf with on a fairly regular basis. He was really good. Light years beyond my ability. Playing with him really made it obvious how bad I was. When we spend time with Jesus, reading his word, praying, time in adoration and many other things, we will realize God is God and I am not. Not for us to look down on ourselves but rather for us to draw strength from him. I challenge us all to be more vulnerable, that is open to God’s grace. It is in the place of our wounds that God will connect with us, our wounds connected to his wounds, bringing healing and comfort.