THE WEEK OF TRINITY III  – SUNDAY 

LESSON: LUKE 15:1-10 

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:1-2 

It is not at all unusual for religious people to assume a very self-righteous attitude over against those whom they regard as “sinners,” to turn up their noses at those who are not as holy as they themselves are, and to despise and shun them. This is always the way of human reason; it cannot be otherwise.  

Self-righteous men are always close to hypocrisy and cannot help despising those who are not like themselves. Their own life counts for everything with them. They blow themselves up and cannot bring themselves to show any consideration at all for “sinners.”  

They know nothing at all about becoming servants of other men and never realize that their own piety should be of service to other men. They are also very proud and hard and do not understand how to manifest love to others. Confronted with a case of need, they are quite likely to argue as follows: “This bumpkin is not even worthy to undo my shoes; how can I be expected to show him my love?” 

This is often where God comes in to play His part. He allows this proud spirit to take a heavy fall and to receive a sound rebuff. A marriage may break up and, at times, something even more terrible can happen, so that in the end this proud spirit is forced to lash out against himself, saying, “Keep quiet and get a grip on yourself, brother; you are no more than the material out of which this ‘bumpkin’s’ trousers are made.”   

In this way, he comes to realize that we are all the one cake and that one donkey does not have to become another donkey’s pack animal. We are all born from the same flesh.  

SL 11:1236 (5) 

PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, You have taught us that the greatest of all is the servant of all and that the humble shall be exalted. Preserve within us a simple, humble heart and faith, ever ready to serve all men, for Your name’s sake. Amen.  

  

Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 4:57-66.