30th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C
LIKE A LIBATION
The second letter to Timothy describes a trial against Paul, probably in Rome. He fully expects a death sentence and is resigned to it. He interprets it as a sacrifice, indicating this by his choice of the word "libation". There were many varieties of offerings made to gods. There were sacrifices of animals, plants and also liquids like wine and oil. Fluid sacrifices were called libations.
PHARISEES AND TAX COLLECTORS
Jesus strongly condemned religious hypocrisy. He illustrates this with a story that has lost much of its impact over the centuries. Partially because of the Gospels the name "Pharisee" has taken on a negative aspect. Actually, the Pharisees were the "good guys". They were a political group organized to defend the rights of migrant farm workers. Modern Judaism can be traced to the better ideals of the Pharisee movement.
In the first century tax collectors were not merely civil servants, they were mercenaries who actually bid for the right to extort from their fellow Jews. Jesus turned the tables by showing that the supposed "sinner" had more humility than the self-proclaimed "holy man."
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