The Self-Righteousness Divide, and the Peace of Christ

Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Joel 2:23-32
Psalm 65
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Luke 18:9-14

Today’s Gospel is the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector, a parable of two men with two very different prayer styles. God’s judgement is here, but I think it is not the kind of judgement that usually strikes us on our first reading. Rather than seeing the Pharisee and the tax collector as offering opposing prayers, one of which is “good” and the other of which is “bad”, I suggest that we see both as offering prayer to God, and being made righteous through God’s mercy. That alternate reading helps us to think about how we proclaim Christ’s peace in our contemporary divided culture. Read more