Our gospel today is the second of two parables on prayer which St. Luke presents to open chapter 18. Last Sunday the first of the parables taught that we must pray for the vindication and deliverance that only God can give, and our prayer must be persistent. Today’s parable describes the attitude of prayer.
Jesus presents his teaching by using two extremes, a Pharisee (a religious professional) and a tax collector (a sinner by employment). Both enter the temple to pray. The prayer of the Pharisee is very self-centered and shallow. The prayer of the tax collector is desperate, brief and to the point. He has done the one thing required of those who seek access to God: he has faced the truth and thrown himself on God’s mercy.
Let us be honest about our shortcomings and humbly bring them to God, who is full of mercy and love. As it says in Proverbs 29:23 : “Man’s pride causes his humiliation, but he who is humble of spirit obtains honor.” As we strive to be intentional disciples, may we be humble in acknowledging our faults and so obtain honor in God’s eyes. Peace.
P.S. Like the humble tax collector, it is important to acknowledge we have sinned. I invite you to make use of the Church’s gift of healing in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. From 4:00—5:00 p.m. every Saturday a priest is hearing confessions and bringing about reconciliation between sinners and God. This is a sacrament of love, grace and mercy, a great blessing for disciples.