by Fr Pius Magagula
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A preacher, trying to draw the attention of listeners would always make them take sides. His story would always contain a protagonist and a victim.
A protagonist – an initiator, someone that takes part in a scenario (my translation of the English word). In relation of the story, one would obviously be made, drawn to choose sides.
Coming down to the story, parable of Jesus; we are automatically drawn to condemn the Pharisee.
“This will be a perpetual law for you. On the tenth day of the seventh month you will fast and refrain from work, both citizen and resident alien; for this is the day on which the rite of exploitation will be performed for you to purify you, to purify you before Yahweh from all your sins.” (Leviticus 16:29-30)
Okay; these Pharisee fasts, two times a week!!
Is he not doing what the law commands/prescribes?
Okay! What is Jesus’ point here? Pomp kills his relevance to God. Salvation should come to him gratuitously. Common reason: Just because i donated so much to the Catholic Church I need children to be baptized without me having to attend baptismal lessons.
The ‘sinner’ on the other hand does not have anything to brag about, save his humanity, his sinfulness. “Be merciful to me my God i am a sinner!”
For this Sunday let us mount off our horses and say to our God: “Be merciful to me, I may be holding high positions in Church, in sodalities, in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, but God: be merciful to me i am but a sinner.”
Let us all do that and see whether our prayers would not get first preferences.