PRAYER REJECTED, PRAYER HEARD (Lk.18:9-14)
Two men went up to the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a publican.
Both men went up to the temple to pray; but the disposition and the attitude with which each of them is about to do this are totally different and seem to decide the outcome. One, who is called a Pharisee in this story, thinks he is addressing God but in reality he is talking to himself. He is contented with himself. He considers himself superior to others, and thanks God for it. He borrows the self-assurance from his close compliance with the precepts of the law. He does even more that these precepts demand. Self-confidence and the conviction to be just are coupled to depreciating others….
"O God, I thank thee that I am not like the rest of men, robbers, dishonest, adulterers, or even like this publican. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I possess."
The prayer of the Pharisee is not a genuine prayer. He places himself on a higher plane than other people. He thanks God that he is not like others.
The other person is a tax collector. He is aware of his littleness; he shows his shortcomings to himself and to God. He asks God for mercy and grace. His prayer is sincere and honest.
"O God, be merciful to me the sinner"
The prayer of the tax collector bears results. He gets the answer that liberates him.
"I tell you, this man (the tax collector) went back to his home justified rather than the other (the Pharisee)"
We often pretend that we are better than we are in reality.
We often wear masks and dare not show ourselves the way we really are, not even before God.
May God set us free from our self-sufficient pride which blinds us to our inner poverty, hardens our hearts, and makes us look down to others.
Od rejects the prayer of the self-righteous person, but listens to that of the sinner who is aware of his inner poverty.