Pharisee & tax collector

This parable is preceded in the Bible by the parable of the Unjust Judge,
and followed by the comment that we have to receive the Kingdom as little children
We are called to humble acceptance that we are not what we should be, what we could be,
and the sadness that goes with that realisation.

I was given every opportunity, went to the right school, a good county regiment.
Why am I not a captain of industry, a great leader, a fount of wisdom?
I have been brought up in a Christian family, loved and touched by God.
Why am I not certain in my faith, assured of eternal life?
For so many are.

Their religious faith forms a bubble of certainty around them.
They know that they are right, impeccable, worthy and righteous.
They know that the gates of heaven will be open wide for them to enter.
They know that God hears their prayers and directs their actions.

Their prayers praise the work that God has done in them
and plead for the sinners around them, who have lower standards.
They demand that God fulfils His part of the various bargains
that they have made for Him to agree to.
It was so in the time of Jesus.
It is so today.
But Jesus came to open the eyes of the blind and to let the deaf hear,
perhaps letting the physical be an analogy of a change of heart;
a fresh pathway to follow, or truth to believe.

We need the freedom to follow with opened eyes
so that we can see the potholes in the highway of conformity.
We need the humility to keep those eyes lowered to see its faults.
Those with proud distant gaze are bound to stumble;
having their eyes fixed on some distant eternity.
Those blinded by earthly concerns also fail
to walk safely on the pitted path.

It is the humble and healed who embrace the Kingdom
and do God's work in this world,
saying, as they do so,
"God have mercy on me a sinner".