Certain people prided themselves on being virtuous…
The Evangelist does not specify who these people are, Lord… It’s easy to rush to thinking about the Pharisees of Your day …. and to forget that Your words are addressed to every one of us to-day! Could I not also be one of these people?
My God, I thank You….
It is a good thing to know how to give thanks … and it is important to do so, provided we remain in truth and humility. The Pharisee of the parable gives thanks because he is not like the others …. He contemplates himself in the deforming mirror of his pride; it is not a prayer that this man has come to say at the Temple. Faced with God, he looks at himself and he places himself above others…..
With a formula of apparent humility, we often say : I am a sinner … I am no better than the others ….. But quickly I add: however I am neither a thief nor unjust …neither this or that !….Which in the end really means: I am however better than the others! Especially when afterwards I add all the good I do: I fast … I distribute a tenth of what I earn …..I do not miss Mass, I devote myself to good works … etc. Open my eyes, Lord! May I not return again to the sort of prayers I have been saying: without You … with my pride and my sins.
My God, have mercy on me a sinner!
The publican looks at himself also but knows how to see the negative; he recognises that he has damaged in himself the work of Your love. But he puts his trust in God who is gentleness and pity, full of love (Ps.102) and he resumes becoming just, readjusted to God, in the joy of filial love. May my encounters with You in the Mystery of the Eucharist, Lord, keep my heart always more open to the Father in heaven and to my brothers!