Gospel – March 21, 2020 – 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 everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The battle within. Jesus speaks today of two men, one arrogant and one humble but each a sinner.
But the thing that I think we miss here is he’s telling the story of “man” and the battle of our “fallen” (Adam and Eve curse) nature and the nature we show when we recognize we are failing God.
The duality of man is a real thing. We struggle between these natures in our covenant with God.
Crying out when we are in distress – ignoring Him when things are going well.
Jesus is telling us we should let our inner “tax collector” lead us, recognizing our kinship with all humanity – we are never better than others.
At least that’s what I heard Him say…