Haydock Commentary on Luke 18:9-14
Posted by Dim Bulb on July 30, 2010
This reading is also used in the Ordinary Form of the Rite for Saturday of the third week of Lent.
Luk 18:9 And to some who trusted in themselves as just and despised others, he spoke also this parable:
Luk 18:9 In this chapter we have three examples of prayer: one of the persevering widow; another of the poor publican, who solicits the divine mercy by the acknowledgment of his crimes; and the third of the proud Pharisee, who only goes to the temple to pronounce his own panegyric, and enter upon a accusation of his humble neighbour, whose heart is unknown to him. (Calmet)
Luk 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee and the other a publican.No note.
Luk 18:11 The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican.
Luk 18:11 The Pharisee standing. The Greek is, standing by himself, i.e. separated from the rest. Some understand this term, standing, as if in opposition to kneeling or prostrating, which they suppose to be the general posture in which the Jews offered up their prayers, and that of the humble publican. The Christians borrowed this practice from them. We see the apostles and disciples praying on their knees: Acts vii. 59, ix. 40, xx. 36. In the Old Testament, we see the same observed. Solomon, (3 Kings viii. 54.) Daniel, (vi. 10.) and Micheas, (vi. 6.) prayed in that posture. Others however, think that the people generally prayed standing, as there were neither benches nor chairs in the temple. (Calmet) — There are four ways by which men are guilty of pride: 1st, By thinking they have any good from themselves; 2nd, by thinking that though they have received it from above, it was given them as due to their own merits; 3rd, by boasting of the good they do not possess; and fourthly, by desiring to be thought the only persons that possess the good qualities of which they thus pride themselves. The pride of the Pharisee seems to have consisted in attributing to himself alone the qualities of which he boasted. (St. Gregory, mor. lib. xxiii, chap. 4.) — He who is guilty of publicly speaking against his neighbour, is likewise the cause of much damage to himself and others. 1st, He injures the hearer; because if he be a sinner, he rejoices to find an accomplice; if he be just, he is tempted to vanity, seeing himself exempt from the crimes with which others are charged. 2nd, He injures the Church, by exposing it to be insulted for the defects of its members. 3rd, He causes the name of God to be blasphemed; for, as God is glorified by our good actions, so is he dishonoured by sin. 4th, He renders himself guilty, by disclosing that which it was his duty not to have mentioned. (St. John Chrysostom, Serm. de Phar. et Pub.)
Luk 18:12 I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess.
Luk 18:12 See how the Pharisee here, by pride, lays open to the enemy his heart, which he had in vain shut against him by fasting and prayer. It is in vain to defend a city, if you leave the enemy a single passage, by which he may enter in. (St. Gregory, mor. lib. xix. chap. 12.)
Luk 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner. No note.
Luk 18:14 I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Luk 18:14 If any one should ask why the Pharisee is here condemned for speaking some few words in his own commendation, and why the like sentence was not passed on Job, who praised himself much more; the difference is evident: the former praised himself without any necessity, merely with an intention of indulging his vanity, and extolling himself over the poor publican; the latter, being overwhelmed with misery, and upbraided by his friends, as if, forsaken of God, he suffered his present distress in punishment of his crimes, justifies himself by recounting his virtues for the greater glory of God, and to preserve himself and others in the steady practice of virtue, under similar temptations. (Theophylactus)