Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature Saturday, 10 March 2018
Gospel: Luke 18: 9-14
In today’s Gospel, Jesus, in order to teach us to pray, tells the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The way of presenting the parable is very didactic. Luke gives a brief introduction which serves as the key for reading. There are always people and groups of people who consider themselves upright and faithful and who despise others, considering them ignorant and unfaithful.
Then Jesus tells the parable: the Pharisee’s prayer is nothing other than a praise of himself, an exaltation of his good qualities and contempt for others. The tax collector puts himself in his own place, where he stands before God.
At the end Jesus Himself applies the parable to life. If Jesus had allowed people to express their opinion and say which of the two went home justified, all would have answered, “the Pharisee!”. This was the common opinion. Jesus turns all things upside down and it is certain that the religious authorities were not pleased with Jesus’ application of the parable.
Jesus prayed very much and insisted that His disciples do the same. From union with God springs truth, and the person is able to discover and find self, in all reality and humility. In Jesus, prayer was intimately bound to concrete facts of life and to the decisions which He had to make. In order to be faithful to the Father’s plan, He sought to remain alone with Him. His whole life was constant prayer: “By himself the Son can do nothing; He can do only what He sees the Father doing!”.