The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-Collector
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.’
In our gospel lesson for this week, we hear the story of the Pharisee and the tax-collector. In the normal thought pattern of this world, the Pharisee would consider the thieves, rogues, adulterers, and the tax-collector as less fortunate. The Pharisee considers himself more fortunate, and he would believe his role is to help the less fortunate. In this case he is judging others while ignoring his own brokenness. In the Kingdom Of God, the Pharisee is the less fortunate while the tax-collector is the more fortunate, for he recognizes his own brokenness. In the Kingdom of God, “the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16 NRSV).