Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity
greedy, dishonest, adulterous or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week,
and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” - Luke 18:9-14
What was the Pharisee's sin here? It seems like he was doing everything right. Yes, it was pride. The one that gets us every time. Almost every sin comes back to pride. We think we are better than the other person. Sometimes, we think we know better than God. Humbling ourselves is not easy. "O God, be merciful to me, a sinner." We are all sinners. Lent helps us to remember that.