“Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.” Well, I sure hope this parable isn’t addressed to me. It is just a story, a parable, right?
But then stories and parables invite us to identify with characters – even if we don’t get a lot of choices here. We can be the Pharisee, but then it’s pretty clear that’s not a great choice. You can almost hear the hubris, the pride, and the scorn in his prayer: “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity – greedy, dishonest, adulterous – or even like this tax collector.”
I suspect most of us would favor the tax collector. He seems to be the epitome of humility, is sincere, prayerful, and a model of conversion and penitence. Continue reading