Gospel brings the contrasting attitudes – arrogance and humility – and how they have an impact on the result of the prayer. The humble republican returns home justified and the arrogant goes empty. Sirach tells that the humble man’s prayer reaches heaven and God will do justice to him. Pope Francis speaks of ‘accusing ourselves’ as a requirement of prayer. He advices, “be accustomed to describing ourselves as sinners.”
“We cannot worship without accusing ourselves,” We need to accuse ourselves telling, ‘I am a man of unclean lips.’ This is what the publican did. It is very comforting that God is not expecting from us to present a record of many meritorious things we did as much as seeking his merciful love. God is one who delights in showing mercy (Micah 7.18) and he looks for a receptive heart. The more acknowledging we are of our littleness, the more receptive are our hearts for the mercy of God.
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