We learn to choose from a very young age. Children choose what food they love to eat, what colour of shoes they are proud to wear and what game they enjoy most. As an adult person we all have our favourite shops. At the shops we browse at different items and look at its design and modes to make sure that what we will get will be the best value of our dollar being spent. The process of observing, choosing and decision making is what we all learn from childhood. The habit of comparing external items becomes a part of life skills needed for choosing both visible things and invisible things. For a small and an unimportant matter the process of choosing happens quickly and often unnoticed. However, when it comes to choosing important matters such as choosing school for your children, future profession, car for the family, location where to live, we take time to choose more carefully. Some people take a long time to decide that causes frustration for their companion. We can judge a person wrongly because appearances don't always reflect the reality of an inner life. Re-enactments in movies and theatres show this. Most marriages break down caused by a couple had misjudged the other in their process of courtships.
Today's Gospel pointed out the Pharisee who had judged the tax collector when he entered the temple to pray. The Pharisee was conditioned by the pre-judgment concept that a tax profession was associated with lies and cheats and he judged the tax collector by this attitude and by the appearances the tax collector had in the temple. The tax collector stood far away from the sanctuary. His eyes looked down, not up. He was stroking his breast in sorrowing for his wrong doing. He begged God for forgiveness and asked for God's mercy. He received what he asked for- forgiveness from God. He received God's mercy because he asked for it from his humble and repentant heart. The Pharisee, on the other hand, received nothing from God simply because he asked God for nothing. He entered the temple, instead of humble prayers, he paraded his good deeds before God, namely not cheating, not fooling around and certainly unlike the tax collector. There was no praying but listing his good deeds; on the contrary the tax collector believed that his life was totally dependent on God.
We often look at our role model and would like to learn from that person; the Pharisee looked down on the tax collector and that is in itself a sin. To make him brighter he painted the tax collector darker. The Pharisee could boast many things but he kept not what God commands and that was to love his neighbours.
What really important is not making history but rather recognizing God's love in our lives and try to share that love with others. Apart from it everything else is a history and vainglory. Faith in Jesus means that we recognize that we are totally dependent on God for everything and love others because they are our brothers and sisters in Jesus.