The Lord spoke this parable: “Two men went into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’
“But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’
“I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Here are some questions about the Gospel reading:
1. Was the Pharisee following the rules for how God wanted his people to live?
2. Do you think the tax collector was following the rules for how God wanted his people to live?
3. What about you? Do you fast twice a week, and tithe on all that you get?
4. What did the Pharisee think following the rules did for him?
5. What did he really need in order for that to happen?
6. Did the tax collector have what the Pharisee thought he had? Why or why not?
7. What does this story tell us about Great Lent and fasting?