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The lesson in today’s first reading is clear: God shows mercy to humble people. This theme is also spelled out in the gospel. In this parable, the Pharisee is filled with pride and his prayer is arrogant. The tax collector is filled with humility and his prayer certainly reflects it. As much as we might hate to admit it, many of us live very comfortable lives and may resemble the Pharisee more closely than we’d like. We get so caught up in “counting our blessings” that we forget to consider our shortcomings. We are all sinners; not one of us is better than another. To be fully alive means to recognize all that God has blessed us with, but it also requires us to recognize that we desperately need God’s mercy and forgiveness. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10). Live out your discipleship in such a way that God Himself exalts you