Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted. (Lk 18:14b)
Today’s Gospel passage is one on which to reflect for a good, long time.
We are presented with two different people. One was haughty, proud, arrogant. He dared to walk into the temple with head held high, rather than bowed in submission and penitence. In many ways, his attitude was such that he was putting himself on par with God.
He even was heard praising himself. He was glad that he was not like so many other people who sinned so grievously. He was especially glad that he was not like “that man” over there, the tax collector.
The tax collector, on the other hand, came in humble, head bowed low. Not even daring to look up, he begged God for forgiveness and mercy.
As Jesus told that story, you could well imagine the crowd siding with the arrogant Pharisee portrayed. After all, the Pharisees were the leaders of the faith. Certainly that Pharisee would be justified in saying what he did.
And, after all, who liked tax collectors? If there was a tax collector and a Pharisee in a story, the Pharisee would win out every single time.
Well, maybe not every single time. Because the Pharisee certainly did not win out in Jesus’ story. Jesus said that it was the tax collector who left justified because of his humility.
Are we like that tax collector? Do we approach the Lord with complete humility, begging for His mercy and forgiveness? Or, are we like that Pharisee who boast and brag and build ourselves up while tearing others down?
FAITH ACTION: Do something for someone else today without regard for recognition or compensation.