The Pharisee and the Publican Rap – Luke 18:9-14

Today’s homily is a story we should all know well. The Pharisee stands in the Temple, exulting himself before God while the tax collector acknowledges his own sinfulness.

With a twist on his poetic tendencies, Fr. Michael uses a rap to re-tell the classic Gospel story with a slightly modern twist. The moral, however, stays the same: we must remain humble before God and before ourselves, acknowledging our faults and seeking forgiveness.

Click and watch the Pharisee and the Publican through Jesus eyes and listen to Fr. Michael’s take via his rap.

The Pharisee and the Publican Rap
by J. Michael Sparough, SJ

Way back when on an average kind of day
Jesus went up to the temple to pray.
He looked around and what did he see?
All the people proud; no one on their knees.
So he told a little story, and this is how it goes.
Listen real careful, and practice what it shows.

“Two very different people went on their way to pray.
One was rather virtuous; the other we won’t say.
The first was dressed for fashion in smartly tailored clothes.
The other one was wearing stuff from which you’d hold your nose.

The first one raised his eyes and then lifted up his arm,
And prayed his prayer out loud so all could see his charm:

‘I love you, Lord my God. It is you alone I seek.
I thank you that I’m not like this snot-nosed, smelly creep.
I say a daily rosary and I never skip a Mass.
I tithe on all my income and complete a weekly fast.
I give alms to all the needy, and I know I’m never greedy.
I’m kind to all the priests and generous to the nuns.
I’m a prudent steward of my income, and I’ve registered all my guns.

So I praise you, Lord my God, and I’m happy that you’re pleased.
You know I’m not a sinner, so no need to bend my knees.
I proud to be your right hand man – I know you know me well.
I’m on my way to heaven, this scumbag will see —
Well, let’s just state the obvious, for the facts are plain to see.
I’m the person you can count on, practically perfect, oh, that’s me!’

The other one was humble and nowhere near so proud.
He just said his private prayers and kept his poor head bowed.

‘O God, I ask your mercy, cause I screwed up once again
I just got caught for stealing and I’m going to the pen.
My best friend just Od’d and attempted suicide.
We robbed the local store. I’m so grateful no one died.
I don’t deserve your love. My life has gone insane.
Have mercy on me, Lord; hear me callin’ out your name.’

Then Jesus looked around, and he spoke this to the crowd:

“Hear my praise for all the humble, not the arrogant or proud.
I get angry at the selfish, the self-righteous and the greedy.
I love the poor and humble and all those who know their needy.
The snooty and judgmental are surely doomed to fall.
They think they’re oh-so–righteous, but God will make the call.

The proud will be judged most harshly, cause God don’t play no game.
The humble are forgiven when they call upon God’s name.
Yes, the proud are going to fall, cause God is not a fool.
The humble will be forgiven, for mercy is God’s rule.”

Jesus told this little story, and that is how it goes.
If you heard it with your heart, you will practice what it shows.
If you heard it with your heart, you will practice what it shows.

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