Dear Parishioners and Visitors,
Being 'puffed up' with self-serving pride is not what we are about as Christians. Since all life is from God, even our skills, our vocational successes, our business endeavors, our studies, our wisdom, and our ability to do the good, that which we accomplish is to be credited to God. It is clear therefore, that the tax collector in Jesus' parable is doing just that. He credits God in begging mercy from God for his sinfulness. Conversely, the Pharisee praises himself, thus crediting only himself and goes to further lengths to deride the tax collector; this is not prayer at all. The self-sufficient Pharisee engages in a vicious hypocritical filibuster of bragging as he also berates the man humbly begging God for mercy. The judgmental Pharisee in this case has sinned even in his so-called prayer.
Modern psychologists and others have varied names for characterizing this particular Pharisee from Jesus' parable: "narcissistic," "insecure," "a windbag," "needy-for-affirmation," "dishonorable," and "entitled."
As God's children, as Jesus· disciples, and with the Holy Spirit's assistance in driving us to effective and humble prayer, we are all of us also penitents and we are invited to confess our faults in meekness and trust in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and in the Holy Eucharist when we beg together: "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy." This confession leads us to a confession of praise of God in thanksgiving and adoration. Jesus was meek and humble of heart, Jet us follow His ardent and thoroughly honest ways of prayer.
In God's loving kindness,
-fr. Chris, O.P.