Gospel – Luke 18:9-14

Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —
greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for whoever exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Reflection on Sunday Gospel

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God…

In Sunday’s Gospel Reading, Jesus tells a parable in order to teach a lesson about pride, the tale of two men, the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.

In the parable, what the Pharisee says in his prayer is this: “I thank you, God, that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.” In the mind and the heart of the Pharisee he is telling the truth for he does the things he is proclaiming. He is being honest  in his relationship with God by acknowledging that it is God that has blessed him and it is God alone who is worthy of his (the Pharisee’s) praise and thanksgiving.

So why might the Pharisee be the portrayed in the parable as the prideful man?

Saint Gregory writes of four different types of pride.

(1) Foolish pride. Consider a few of the contestants on American Idol…why do they think they can sing?

(2) The pride of the “self-made person.”  You are your own DIY Network!

(3) Self-congratulatory pride. You are gifted and you thank God for your talents; but you deserve it because it would be a wasted gift if it were to be given to anyone else.

(4) Finally, Preferred Pride. This is when we build ourselves up; acknowledge that our gifts and talents have come from God, however we put others down by uncharitable criticism. We feel good about ourselves only in relationship to how we can point out the shortcomings and sins of others!

And so, the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-Collector.  Our Pharisee acknowledges his gifts are from God but please don’t call me to share those gifts with others and “thank you God” for not making me a sinner like the Tax Collector!

The “first sin” was a sin of pride and we (humanity) have been on a slippery slope ever since!

God help us!

St. John Baptist de La Salle … Pray for Us!
Live Jesus in our Hearts … Forever!

Ms. Maryann Donohue-Lynch