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James Tissot


Lk 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.”


‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’

I used to think deep in my heart that somehow I was immune to evil. I lived my life with my own standards. Self justified I would act first and then think about the consequences. I would look at the less fortunate and my heart thanked God that I was spared.

What makes me different now than the way I was in my past? It was bittersweet humility, a gift given to me by God, to bring me back to Him. Every time I went down a path where my expectations were not met, family problems made their presence more uncomfortable, I had to acknowledge my weaknesses and failings and beg God for mercy.

Most important, I was faced with the unworthiness of my life before God who had done so much for me. He forced my hand at changing my life. I went from being the Pharisee to being the tax collector, begging God to be merciful to me, a sinner, a repentant soul.

Just so that we don't get too comfortable by an attitude of being pious or too harsh on ourselves, admit you are not what you think you are. Allow God to gaze upon you. Be aware that God loves you, sent His Son to save and redeem you and gave us the Holy Spirit, His life, to live in you.

Be thankful and happy when humbled because no one who has sin within him can see God.

God Bless You


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