Jesus tells a story in today’s gospel of two extreme characters: the pharisee and the publican. A streak of each resides in us. The revered pharisee follows all the rules even fasting and tithing. His downside is that he takes credit for his behavior and condemns those who don’t. The publican, despite his questionable career, manifests heartfelt honesty, and begs for God’s mercy. Jesus approves the publican because he journeys on the path from living for self to living for the other. Each of us treads this same path. At times, we retreat into self like the pharisee; and at other times we sacrifice for others. Sometimes, we lose our way completely. The heart of Christianity is to persevere in our search for Christ despite our blindness; for this determines our life’s success story.

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