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God be merciful to me a sinner.

The humble person’s prayer pierces the clouds… this verse is taken from Ecclesiasticus 35: 16-19. The tax collector from today's Gospel parable (Luke 18:9-14) fits this description perfectly. He was humble, real, remorseful. There was power in his prayer when he prayed 'God be merciful to me a sinner.'

It is precisely as a sinner that a person most needs the love of God, most needs God’s help. The tax collector knew this. The Pharisee in the parable on the other hand was focused on himself and his achievements. Jesus criticizes him for not being aware that all these good things he claims to do have God as their source. Without God, he could do nothing, he would be nothing..

May each of us today experience the reality of being loved sinners and be assured of God’s healing mercy and from that place be merciful ourselves to those we encounter

who need support and understanding rather than our judgement. Precisely as reconciling people we fulfill one aspect of our mission in the world on this Mission Sunday.

We have recently learnt of the death of Fr Michael McVerry SM who died in Taumaranui. He spent most of his priesthood as a missionary on Taveuni, Fiji. He was a wonderful raconteur and grounded priest. In thanks and in memory of him I am posting a song he asked me to write some years ago for the community he served so admirably. The song is dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, 'Marama ni Lura'. track 5 on the Songs Commissioned Collection. The people will be sad to hear of Fr Mick's death. May he rest in peace.

Blessings on your week.

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