Jesus’ Life: Chapter 10 – Jesus’ Last Journey To Jerusalem
I was too young to even know the meaning of the word Parable when my teacher told my class the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.
I thought my teacher was referring to the people in our small village Church. To make matters worse, she didn’t contradict my suggestion that there must be a lot of Pharisees in our community. Well, every Sunday people seemed to be competing with their neighbour; who had the latest clothes style, the biggest car or flashiest gadget. Perhaps I was just being over observant and inquisitive, or doing as children do!
The Parable goes like this:
A Pharisee and a Tax Collector went to the Temple to pray.
The Pharisee said, “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 give away a tenth of my whole income.”
The Tax Collector, stood at a distance with his head towards the ground and, beating his breast, said, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner”.
Parable Message: The Pharisee considered himself to be so righteous that God would automatically accept him while the Tax Collector recognised his sinfulness and begged God for mercy and acceptance.
Jesus’ Parable was meant as a warning to the Pharisees self-righteous beliefs and stubbornness to change but, it also remains a pertinent reminder to you and I, we are sinners and need God’s mercy.
Today, many years on, I now know not to judge a book by its cover. Our community still thrives and Church attendance is central to their living. Many of the old traditions remain such as children sitting at the extreme front.
Yet, I still vividly remember my childhood days in the Church, walking down that central aisle to the front. It seemed to take forever and with every short step, I knew that the eyes of another line of adult worshipers would focus down on me. Was Jesus also watching me, I would wonder? Yes, my head would quickly tell me and I had come to Church to pray not to watch others!
Of course, many years later, I am now one of the adults who sit in the Church pews while today’s children walk down its central aisle. As their eyes glance back towards me, I wonder, do they see me as a Pharisee or a Tax Collector! (Luke 18:9-14)
Almighty God, I am a sinner and I humbly seek your forgiveness.
Lord God, I beg You for your compassion and grace, as I promise to amend my ways. Forgive me my sins, O merciful God.
Prayer: I Confess
I confess to Almighty God,
and to you my brothers and sisters,
that I have gravely sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
therefore, I ask Blessed Mary, ever-virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.