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Catechism - Lesson 6

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

AIM: To teach us to be humble. God does not like proud people. If we humble  ourselves, God will exalt us. 


Jesus tells us a story of two people, one a pharisee and the other was a tax collector. 





Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of
their own righteousness and despised everyone else.
"Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a
Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up
his position and spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you
that I am not like the rest of humanity -- greedy, dishonest,
adulterous -- or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week,
and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even
raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed,
'O God, be merciful to me a sinner.'
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for
whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who
humbles himself will be exalted."


First of all

Who was a Pharisee?

Pharisees were people from Jesus's times, who followed the Law of God very strictly. In fact  they followed them so strictly that they forgot the original purpose of the law. They were so caught up with "following the law" that they forgot to be human  good and kind.They thought they were very "holy" and were careful not to mix with anyone who may make them "unholy". They were also very proud and rarely cared for others.


Who was a Tax Collector?

Tax Collectors were Jews who used to work for the Roman Government. they used to collect taxes on behalf of the Romans. They were very unpopular with the Jewish people , because often the taxes were rather hard to come up with. Many tax collectors were also dishonest and would collect extra money in the name of taxes and kept the extra money for  themselves.

This story is very simple, but what does it really mean? 
Jesus clearly says that the prayer of the tax collector was more acceptable to God than the Pharisee!! But how can that be? The Pharisee used to follow God's law while the Tax collector was by nature not good!!
What Jesus was telling us was that God hates pride. He does not like a boastful look. God can read our hearts and our minds. He knows what our thoughts are. We must not judge by outer signs or by what we see of a person from the outside. So even though visible a Pharisee was a good man, his heart was not good. While the Tax Collector seemed bad to others but in his heart he was God loving and God fearing. 
The Moral of this Parable is 
1) Be humble. God loves a humble heart. 
2) Never judge a person by appearances. God can see his heart. 



Prayer: 

Lord, help me to be a child- pure and kind. 
Help me to tell wrong from right. 
Make my heart like yours dear Lord - Big and good. 
Keep me from pride and vice. 
May I be close to You and Do what Your Heart tells me to do. 
Amen.

Action Song: 

Give me oil in my lamp. 
Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning, burning, burning
Give me oil in my lamp, I pray - Alleluia!!
Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning,burning, burning
Keep me burning 'til the break of day
 
 
Come on and Sing hosanna, sing hosanna
Sing hosanna to the King of Kings
Come on and Sing hosanna, sing hosanna
Sing hosanna to the King of Kings
 
 
Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising, praising , praising
Give me joy in my heart, I pray - Alleluia!
Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising praising , praising
Keep me praising 'til the break of day
 
 
Come on and Sing hosanna, sing hosanna
Sing hosanna to the King of Kings
Come on and Sing hosanna, sing hosanna
Sing hosanna to the King of Kings
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