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Lenten Weekday
Hosea 6:1-6
Psalm 51:3-4, 18-19, 20-21AB
Luke 18:9-14
The Gospel reading is one of the parables, and addresses how to follow
and pray. The parable recounts the story of the holy man, a Pharisee, and
a tax collector going to the temple. The Pharisee prays openly, defining his
good works publically and comparing himself to the failings of the tax col-
lector. The tax collector prayed privately and acknowledged his own fail-
ings. These differences are apparent to all and correct. However Jesus
points out that the tax collector was justified and not the Pharisee, and
that people who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who are
humble in the face of God will be exalted.
The parable has many messages, for people about how to live; the danger
of pride and the implicit danger that pride brings with compari-
son to others. Just as the Pharisee outlines his good works and
then thinks of all the people that do not measure up in either
thought or action, we all can see the similarity with hierarchy and
effort that we put into the church. The hardworking Priest, the
diligent observant parishioner, or the writers of online pray books.
Here we are reminded that God honors those who realize their
actions, ministry, and observance do not commend them to God
or make them superior; as we are all objects of God’s grace and
Another lesson from this parable is on how to pray. The Pharisee
states his superiority and compares himself to the tax collector.
Then lists his observance and his committed nature of his faith.
The tax collector knows he is a sinner (the Latin for tax collector
could be translated as Publican or tax collector, and the Publican
has connotations of a bar, or pub, owner) and a collaborator with