“Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”Matthew 7:1-5
Third Week of Lent, Saturday
He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. 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.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”Luke 18:9-14
Humble faces shine
In the mirror of mercy.
Proud miens malign.
A Pharisee and a tax collector
Went up to the temple to pray.
One stood aloof and the other downcast,
A kingpin and a castaway.
With a wooden beam in the oculus,1
Sinners and swindlers were despised.
God’s favored son am I, thought the pietist,
Keeping the laws, he moralized.
Alas for me, beat the sad publican
His breast with supplicating grief.
May the smoke of incense and sacrifice2
Atone for this woebegone thief.
The Pharisee and the tax collector
Came down from the temple that day.
The self-righteous prig left unjustified;
The son had his sins cast away.
1 Matthew 7:1-5; Luke 6:41-42.
2 The Greek verb in the phrase, “be merciful to me” in Luke 18:13 is hilaskomai, not eleeó (as in Kyrie eleison). New Testament scholar Kenneth Bailey writes: “Verse 13 contains the word hilasthete (make an atonement). The more common word eleeson (have mercy) occurs in 18:39. The appearance of the weighty theological word hilaskomai in 18:13 must be intentional and significant. The most natural explanation appears to be that the two men are watching the atonement sacrifice in the temple. The tax collector longs that it might be for him.” See A Study Guide for Fifteen Lectures on the Parables of Jesus, p. 36.