Homily – Fr. Alan Gilmore – 10/23/22 – Admitting sinfulness and asking for mercy

Homily – Fr. Alan Gilmore – 10/23/22 – Admitting sinfulness and asking for mercy



Dear Brothers and Sisters, Today, this 30′ Sunday in Ordinary Time is also

World Mission Sunday. It is an important day for the universal church! It began

with a young French woman 180 years ago; Pauline Jaricot who founded the

Society for the Propagation of the Faith, which began as a confraternity dedicated

to praying for and supporting the missions of the Church. It has inspired millions

in the past 200 years to help with their prayer and deeds, for the propagation of the

faith. It is more necessary than ever today in this “Post Christian World!”

Pope Francis urges world pastors and preachers to reflect on the theme:” You

shall be my witnesses”. All of us, as co-members of the Body of Christ should do

the same! How can this be, we might say? Our Lady herself once asked the same

question. The Lord can dispose the members to do the work of the Body To be an

effective witness to Christ, we must be rooted in prayer, in God’s merciful love

In today’s first reading (Sir.) we are reminded that “the one who serves God

willingly is heard”. With that, the starting point is that we must strive to know,

to understand, what God desires for us and from us in our Christian lives.

In today’s Gospel, what differentiates the Pharisee from the tax collector? The

Pharisee lives a virtuous life. Nevertheless he speaks to himself, failing to recog-

nize his own need for the power and action of God in his life. Pride leads to self-

deception and spiritual blindness. We see that in this Pharisee. The tax collector

is a traitor to his own people and a collaborator in the oppression by the Romans

However, the tax collector, on the other hand, despite despicable deeds, is justi

fied, simply and purely because he calls upon the name of the Lord, asking

for mercy! God abides with those who admit their sinfulness and who desire

mercy and saving help. We see that in this tax collector; “God be merciful to me a



There is a right way and a wrong way to be justified before God. The right way:

is to approach God as an unworthy sinner, asking for mercy. The wrong way is to

depend on our good works, to trust in ourselves.


We shall be the faithful witnesses those who are “sent”, as Pope Francis urges

us’ by acknowledging our sinfulness and need of God’s mercy. Witnesses such as

these can bring the Good News teethers, even to those in the world who do not

know the name of Jesus – and those countless Catholics and other Christians- and

perhaps members of our own families who have lapsed in their faith.

Actually, the Church, the Body of Christ – whose members we are- is the

ultimate “society’ – for the propagation on the Faith!

May this World Mission Sunday serve to remind us not to trust in ourselves, but

like the tax collector – to trust in our merciful God – that we may be ‘sent’ in

various ways, to build up the Body of Christ, the Church throughout the world.


In a prayer found after her death, the woman who began what has become

the Society for the Propagation of the Faith prayed in the same spirit of the tax

collector -“I have put my hopes in your mercy.”