Jesus asks, “All who make little of themselves will be lifted up, but all who make much of themselves will be brought down.”
In this Sunday’s gospel Jesus tells the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee supposes the very prayer that distanced him from the tax collector brings him near God. The tax collector, on the other hand, supposes he is unworthy to be anything but distant from God; his openness to God’s mercy brings him close to God.
Jesus creates room for us to assess ourselves in holding up these two contrasting examples of prayer. Outward signs of piety do not make the Pharisee an insider with God, nor does social inferiority exclude the sinner from relationship with God.
How do I measure what I or others deserve?