A few weeks ago (22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time) we had a Gospel about humility in social life– today we hear the Lord reiterating the message, but this time in reference to our prayer lives. The two Gospels are linked by the last words today, which also appear in the other story: “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” This phrase is obviously a key part of our Lord’s teaching! The sin of “self-exaltation” consists in putting others in a lower place –as the Pharisee does to the tax collector. Perhaps the most telling phrase in today’s Gospel is where Jesus refers to the Pharisee saying “this prayer to himself,” rather than offering it to God! And since the Pharisee wasn’t talking to God, how could he expect to be heard?

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