Sunday, October 24, 2010

Let's Get Real

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.' (Luke 18:11-13)
Interesting that only a few verses after this Gospel reading, verse 19, Jesus says -  "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone."
Both of the men in this gospel are sinners. But only one admits it. Only one tells the truth. Only one is real.
The tax collector has the right idea. He knew he was a sinner and he asked for God's mercy, knowing God's mercy is bigger than any sin.
The Pharisee is more interested in comparing himself to the tax collector and others. He evidently feels superior. He may have many gifts but he is taking credit for them rather than thanking God for them. He too is a sinner but does not seem to recognize it.
When we know we are sinners, we stop comparing ourselves to others. We stop judging others. When we trust in God's love, then we are able to throw ourselves at his feet, asking for His mercy, confident that it will be given to us.
"You may call God love, you may call God goodness, but the best name for God is compassion." - Meister Eckhart
Lord, have mercy on me. Help me to be real. And help me to remember from whom all blessings flow. Amen.

12 comments :

pip said...

Great post Colleen ...

"You may call God love, you may call God goodness, but the best name for God is compassion."

Com-passion means to share in another's sufferings ... that is how close God came to us in Christ

Colleen said...

Pip, thank you for your kind words and also thank you for sharing the meaning of the word compassion. Sure fits doesn't it?
God bless!

Prairiemaid said...

Wonderful post, Colleen!

Thank you for coming by and taking the time to comment. Stop by anytime!

May your week be filled with blessings,

Cheryl

Colleen said...

Cheryl, thank you too! God bless!

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Our priest said today: Have you heard of the woman who on hearing this Gospel said "Lord thank you I am not like that Pharisee ... criticising the tax collector!!!"

Well ... it seems that the need to compare ourselves to others never stops.

Thanx for this great post.

God bless.

deodate said...

Great post - when I am struggling, suffering, going through tough times, I can turn to God whose name is compassion. It makes all the difference to know that I am not alone. That my God walks with me and shares my pain.
Andie

Colleen said...

Victor, that is funny, but also true I am afraid. I find I do the same thing even though I don't want to!

Andie, amen! Thank you!

kkollwitz said...

"I am not like the rest of humanity--greedy, dishonest, adulterous--or even like this tax collector."

As I tell my 6th graders, we much prefer to examine someone else's conscience instead of our own.

Barb Schoeneberger said...

This is one of my favorite Bible stories. I need to be vigilant on this judging business because I grew up in a very critical family. When I catch myself at it I say, "O Lord, I am such a mess! Help me!"

Colleen said...

kkollwitz, very well said! And true!

Barb, I too have to be vigilant. I love the prayer you use!

RAnn said...

How very true

Colleen said...

RAnn, thank you!