The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

by Fr.Cornelius


Our Merciful Saviour, Jesus Christ, came into the world to establish His Kingdom filled with Mercy, Compassion, Joy, Justice, Peace and Love, the Kingdom of Paradise.

To deepen our faith and foster holiness of life among us, He used parables to make known to us the mysteries of God’s Kingdom.

We discover that parables are simple in appearance but they deal with fascinating topics. Parables make the uncertain and complex topics easy to understand.

In the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, according to Luke 18:9-14, Jesus made known to us the nature of the forgiving Love, Mercy and Compassion of God which to a certain degree is not easy to comprehend. We find in the parable that God’s heart is tender, large and open to accommodate even the greatest sinners who call on Him for mercy and redemption. We find in the parable a God who offers His gift of compassion and mercy to those who acknowledge their vulnerability, sinfulness and emptiness.

In humility we are challenged to acknowledge our sins and ask for God’s Mercy and Compassion. That is exactly what the Tax Collector did in the gospel parable. The Tax Collector acknowledged his unworthiness and cried out in sorrow: “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner”. Jesus said the Tax Collector went home at right with God. He was justified and saved. His relationship with God was deepened.

The Pharisee had no need for God and His mercy. He went home empty and without salvation. It all reveals our need for God and humility. It reveals our relationship with God. The parable also gives us food for thought about ourselves: in the seemingly endless demands of our daily activities, are we able to find enough time to respond adequately and calmly to God’s love and Compassion? Do we recognise our limitations and need for God?



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Letterkenny, Donegal, Ireland



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