March 21, 2020

Jesus addressed a parable “to those who were convinced of their own righteousness …

and despised everyone else.” That final phrase drives home the point of the parable even more clearly. It’s when being convinced of our own virtue makes us look down on others that we show ourselves to have very little virtue of which to boast.

In our world, today humility is a quality that is seldom appreciated. Before the 2016 election, one candidate ticked off several things he claimed were wrong with the country, adding, “…and only I can fix them.” It seems safe to say, however, that no one person has all of the answers or all of the wisdom. True humility means that we recognize and acknowledge our limitations as well as our gifts and our talents. Humble people will freely ask for advice or wisdom and will admit when they need help.

Jesus, however, was not speaking to politicians, but to us. Let’s consider who we faithful; righteous Christians tend to look down on: teenagers with body piercings and gothic clothing; pregnant teenagers; divorced and remarried persons; immigrants and illegal aliens; and the list goes on.

We all need to be more like the tax collector. He makes no excuses for his behavior, offers no mitigating circumstances. He is confessing his sinfulness before God and taking full responsibility for it. And, he asks for mercy. To ask for forgiveness and restoration of his relationship with God is a faith-filled act for a man so despised by his society. He is obviously humble and repentant of his sins, and his faith has emboldened him to ask for something that he has no right to expect—and that the Pharisees among us are unwilling to grant him—forgiveness and restoration before God.

Whom do we tend to look down on?

Let Us Pray:

O loving God, whose son Jesus accepted the humble condition of his humanity, grant me the humility to recognize my own weaknesses and sins that I may always look to you for forgiveness and mercy.


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)


About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015. His most recent book is A Eucharistic Spirituality: Inspired by Saint Peter Julian Eymard – Apostle of the Eucharist, which he co-authored with Jim Brown.