This parable of Jesus presents a contrast between a Pharisee and a tax collector. If ever there was a self-made, self-assured man it would be the Pharisee. A pharisee's accomplishments went above and beyond the call of duty. They fasted at least twice a week. They gave a weekly double tithe (10%) - a tithe offering on their income and a tithe offering on their accumulated wealth! They were outwardly the best example of how a child of God should live their life. Pharisees were honest, hardworking, and exemplary citizens. They were maybe most known for their prayer life. Many Biblical scholars today believe that Jesus was himself a member of the Pharisees. If ever there was a class of people that we categorically despised, it would be the tax collectors. They were looked down upon as those without any piety, and worst of all, they were morally corrupt, sending into bankruptcy the poor who could not pay. In this Gospel, the tax collector even breaks all the prayer customs of the day - his eyes looked down and his prayer was crude and did not follow a prescribed pattern. If ever there was a story with a surprise ending, this is it! Jesus announces that it is the tax collector who leaves the temple justified and not the Pharisee. Jesus uncovers the arrogance of the Pharisee who justified his life before God by comparing himself with other people. And yet, the Pharisee's worst offense is his belief that a person can make their relationship better with God by the way they live their life. In contrast, Jesus insists that the tax collector had a good relationship with God because he depended upon God's forgiveness above to renew his relationship with God. The challenge is not to measure ourselves against others (especially those who are living in sin). Christ calls us to measure ourselves against the standards of God's moral Law, and then repent.