August 3, 2008 - The 11th Sunday after Trinity

Today's Reading: Luke 18:9-14

Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 17:48—18:9; Acts 27:9–26

God be merciful to me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13c).

Pointing to the example of the humble and repentant heart visible in the life of that tax collector, Jesus says that God has exalted him (see Luke 14:11 and 1 Peter 5:6), that God has justified him. He justifies him, not because of what the man has done, but because of what God has done in him. In humility we hear that man confess this in his plea for forgiveness, trusting that it is God who gives mercy.

Here is something the prideful Pharisee didn’t understand: Whoever you are, it is certain that you are a sinner (Romans 3:23). You have nothing to boast in before God or man. Yet has not God been merciful to you?

What about you? Has God not sent His Son to redeem you? Has He not justified you, or made you righteous in His sight through the suffering and death of Jesus? Has He not poured out His mercy upon you in the blessed waters of your Baptism? Does He not continue to give Himself to you in His gracious Word, in Holy Absolution and in His very body and blood offered in the Lord’s Supper?

The answer to all the above is “YES!” God is merciful to you, sinner that you are. Therefore, with heads bowed and humble hearts we pray, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” And He is in Jesus. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, who is always more ready to hear than we to pray and give more than we either desire or deserve, pour down upon us the abundance of Your mercy, forgiving those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things that we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Christ, our Lord; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Trinity 11)