Jesus also told this parable to people who were sure of their own goodness and despised everybody else. “Once there were two men who went up to the Temple to pray: one was a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood apart by himself and prayed, ‘I thank you, God, that I am not greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer, like everybody else. I thank you that I am not like that tax collector over there. I fast two days a week, and I give you one tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even raise his face to heaven, but beat on his breast and said, ‘God, have pity on me, a sinner!’ I tell you,” said Jesus, “the tax collector, and not the Pharisee, was in the right with God when he went home. For those who make themselves great will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be made great.”

Luke 18:9-14

The entire point of is to let us praise God, make us humble before God and to open us up to the path of love. Everything else, meaning the liturgy, the sacraments, the prayers, is meant to further these purposes. When we turn them away from these purposes and onto ourselves, we have undermined the meaning. This leads to the dreaded “holier than thou” attitude of self-righteousness! No, humbleness and love are the way to go!

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