Sermon delivered Feb. 5, 2017 on Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, Luke 18:10-14.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, One God. Amen.
We hear the story about Tax collector and Pharisee every year. As soon as we hear that two men went up to the temple to pray, and one was a Pharisee and another a Tax collector – we immediately know who was the good guy and who was bad.
We think we know the moral of the story too – do not do as the bad guy, but do as the good guy. When hear this story we are asked to identify with one or the other, and we definitely know who we should identify with.
Since we know this reading so well, the power of the message it offers is not as strong. We know that the Pharisee is a sinner, and that we should side with the Tax collector. After all, isn’t it easier to be with the Tax collector, not much is expected of him?
But if we jump to conclusions before the Gospel reading is even finished, don’t we make the same mistake the Pharisee made? Don’t we effectively say, “O thank God I am not like him!”