Sirach tells us “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds.” The Psalm response echoes this theme: “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.” And in the gospel, it is the prayer of one who knows himself a sinner that is heard. God accepts the prayer of the tax collector because he acknowledges God as his Lord and Savior. He does not compare himself with anyone else. He does not judge anyone else; only himself.

During this Year of Mercy, we have been challenged to turn to the Lord in prayer much as the parable’s tax collector did, in all humility. And like the tax collector, we have found a God whose love is shown in mercy, acceptance, compassion and forgiveness.

—Fr. Don Petkash, S.J. serves as Vice-President for Mission and Identity at Walsh Jesuit High School, Stow, OH.