The parable in today’s Gospel hits home with all of us. Sometimes, we can have an overwhelming feeling that we are just not good enough; yet we are afraid that if we don’t approach God, we might get even worse. On such occasions we have to remind ourselves that God is merciful, and it is His mercy we need. The Pharisee in the parable recognises neither his sinfulness nor even his own need for God. He is too caught up in himself and consequently convinced of his own righteousness. He takes his place in the Temple and there delights in himself. He doesn’t ask God for mercy; his pride has convinced him that he doesn’t need it! He leaves, as he arrived, shrouded only in his own arrogance. The tax collector, however, is very aware of his sinfulness and therefore his need for God’s healing mercy. He dare not even lift his eyes to Heaven. “Be merciful to me a sinner,” is all he can pray. The proud Pharisee asked for nothing from God and received nothing; the humble tax collector asked for mercy and leaves renewed and enfolded in God’s love and mercy.
…and give us Your saving help!