Today’s reading from the Gospel of St. Luke 18:10-18, is the Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee, in which Jesus praises the humble repentance of the Publican and condemns the self-righteous pride of the Pharisees.
This is an especially challenging gospel for many Christians whom sometimes assume a superior attitude over others simply because they are Christians. Pharisaic pride is in itself a very heinous sin in Christianity, a sort of infectious disease that can make our faith a sign of virtue and have given it an unpleasant label of privilege like the Pharisee in the Parable.
A proud, self satisfied and self glorifying heart is an abomination to God. But a contrite, humble and most of all penitent heart, which makes no claims before God, but recognizes its total dependence on Him is a fragrant sacrifice to Him, even if it belongs to a person regarded by others as a sinner.
Our faith is not our exclusive possession, and we should not think of ourselves as some sort of elite, rather it is a gift given freely and openly by God to those, with a sincere, loving, contrite and repentant heart which seeks to follow Him in this world, and in the hope of the world to come.