He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
We are all used to the “heads or tails” coin toss at athletic contests and other events. We’re used to the either/or reality involved. The Pharisee and tax collector in today’s gospel offer another angle—both/and rather than either/or.
Consider the possibility that in each of our lives, at various times and in differing circumstances, we can act with total righteousness or with honest humility. And perhaps that is Jesus’ point: I can be honest, thoughtful, generous, hope-filled, responsible in the morning and, for some inexplicable reason act quite the opposite later in the day. Reactions of family and friends quite often point this out: “You sure got up on the wrong side of the bed today.” -and- “Thanks for going the extra mile tonight.”
Throughout these days of Lent, Jesus invites us to be our best selves, to throw in our lot with him, to walk in his footsteps…even on the road to Calvary. Where am I with Jesus on this third Saturday of Lent?
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Lord, I’m not turning back. All that I have I now give to you. Ask me whatever; I never want to betray you.
—Carlo Maria Martini, S.J.Please share the Good Word with your friends!