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Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector

Jesus teaches from a boat off the shore of Lake Gennesaret. He speaks in parables, giving the example of a Pharisee and tax collector going to the temple to pray. The two men approach prayer very differently.

The Pharisee in the story stands by himself and lists his respectable attributes. He thanks God that he is not greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer like everyone else. He specifically points out the tax collector and thanks God for not being like him. The Pharisee boldly tells God what he does: He fasts two days a week and gives a tenth of his income.

The tax collector stands at a distance from the altar. Head bowed, he beats on his chest. The only thing he prays is, "God, have pity on me, a sinner!"

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