Prayer- are you asking or basking?Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time –LK 18:9-14

What is the attitude we should have before God in prayer? Luke gives us another account of two people praying in 18:9-14. Who is he telling this parable to? To those who trusted in themselves, to those who were righteous and to those who regarded others with contempt.

So Jesus is not only narrating this parable about ‘a Pharisee’, he is narrating this to the present day audience especially when we behave like Pharisees. Jesus  is talking to ALL who fall in the above categories. So don’t be fooled by the example of the Pharisee and dismiss this as situational example lost in history.

Jesus is talking about the Pharisee in all of us (Church people). Yet it is amazing that he even used a tax collector and a Pharisee in the same story for the Jews could not even imagine the two to be mentioned in the same breath. There was no doubt in the mind of the Jew that the Pharisee would be the hero of the narrative.

In Luke 5:32 Jesus said I have come not for the righteous. So it is clear that Jesus does not have some ‘gold star standard’ for those He has come or not come for. He has come to save all so all can petition him in prayer.

  What’s common between the tax collector and the Pharisee in the parable?

  1. Both went to pray

  2. Both went to temple (the same place)

  3. Both are sinners( even though the Pharisee things otherwise)

  4. Both address God

What’s different about them?

  1. One was an honest sinner. He looks to heaven, beats his breast and acknowledges the sin

  2. The other was a dishonest sinner – The Pharisee is not praying to God he is actually listing his religious achievements. Who is the centre of his prayer? It is himself! He is the object of his own worship. Four times in the parable he says “I”.

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