They both were sinners.
One went through the motion of following the rules but tragically he had an arrogant and prideful heart.
The other one fell or jumped into sin over and over again and he knew it.
The first didn’t really ask God for anything… he just told God how great he was.
The second couldn’t even raise his eyes to heaven, all he did was repeat over and over again “have mercy on me a sinner.”
Only the second man was saved,
the man who simply went through the motions of following God’s law was not.
The moral of the story is simple.
We all have to be humble.
A proud and arrogant and self-righteous person with hardened heart cannot be saved.
He cannot be saved because he or she doesn’t even know that they need God’s love or God’s mercy.
This week I went to Buffalo to visit my 86 year old mother for 2 days.
As I travelled back from home this week, I kept reflecting on humility.
I always try to dress clerically when I travel because in my own little way I am trying to heal all harm that a very small minority of my brother priests have done to the good name of the priesthood.
Nowadays when you dress clerically some people ignore you,
some people are actually hostile,
and some people are kind.
On occasion someone wants to talk or go to confession because they know they will never see you again. I’ve heard lots of confessions in airports.
It doesn’t really matter how they act I have no control over that.
What matters to me is how I act.
I try to smile
I try to be solicitous and I try to be humble.
You know I’ve come to be convinced that the Gospel would be received so much better if the Church as a whole were more humble.
We can never stop proclaiming the truths revealed to us by God, and we can’t ever presume to water them down, but if we and some of the leaders of our Church proclaimed God’s truths more humbly I believe that there would be a lot more people in the pews.
Catholics all over the world have to be more humble proclaimers of the Word.
Our parish has to be humble in its dealings with our town and fellow citizens.
And all of us are who have been given the gift of faith are called to live it humbly especially with our friends and in our families.
One was proud and one was humble which one are we ?