The Pharisee and the Tax Collector by Fr Aloy Udo
Today, Christ has summoned us all to tell us what it takes to live as a good child of the mother – the Church. The first reading talks of the prayer of a humble and contrite heart. Psalm 51 is a clear example of a prayer of a contrite heart. Reading this Psalm, one question we should ask ourselves is, ‘am I proud or humble?’ Other questions are, How do I see myself? How does God see me? How do human beings see me? These may be rhetorical questions but in it lies the truth about ourselves. We should be challenged day by day to ask ourselves these questions.
Lessons from the readings of today include
1. God is impartial and also a just God
2. There are rewards or a crown for the good work done.
3. There is a need for the virtue of faith and humility
4. Looking down on others is a sin. It is the sin of pride.
In the gospel, the Pharisee went to pray without going to pray. He was rather giving himself a testimonial before God about who he is. He took credit for the good things he did and went on to judge his neighbours. We may condemn the actions of the Pharisee but we must be mindful because Individually, we all can be either the Pharisee or the tax collector.
The tax collector recognized his sinfulness so he prayed that God should be merciful to him a sinner. He knew that God is merciful. The tax collector was humble enough to plead for the forgiveness of God and His blessing. For this reason, Christ says the tax collector went home justified. The lesson in this is that we should be humble and not offend God and neighbour. Real humility is the basis of attempting greatness. If we want to be great in the sight of God, humility must be our keyword so that at the end of our struggles, we will make it to Heaven through Christ our Lord. Amen.