It's so easy to get caught up in all the categories of human achievement and human status, patting ourselves on the back to the point of bruising, while forgetting the utter Truth of our nature in front of the Merciful God. We rationalize something like this, 'I have a job with great responsibilities, and I work very hard. I raise my children and love my spouse, and keep the house in order. I go to Church and volunteer regularly. I help out with chores when I visit my elderly relatives; I vote, and I am a conscientious neighbor. I try to be nice, I try to do good. I am a pretty good guy (gal).'
And then we screw up, and we realize that we are nothing without God.
The Pharisees were pretty good guys when all is considered. Their sole desire was to remain pure, separating themselves from all things unworthy of God. They defended the faith. They prayed without ceasing. They loved God's Law so much they added a whole bunch of human ornaments to it. They were super-Jews. Or, at least, they thought they were until they met the One Supernatural-Jew, Jesus Christ. And Jesus systematically, and mercifully, revealed the holes in their game. He revealed their piety as superficial, their holiness as leak proof as a piece of Swiss cheese, and their charity as self-serving. Jesus revealed them as judgmental and selfish, even in the amazingly faithful life they lived.
And the same thing is true for us!
Have you ever noticed that there is a sign up sheet for Eucharistic adoration, but none for confession? Do you know why? When you show up to visit our Lord in Eucharistic adoration, He is pleasantly surprised. When you don't show up for confession, He is utterly disappointed. For Adoration brings us grace, while already in sanctifying grace, building us up in Christ. And nothing in this Universe could be any better. But confession strengthens souls weakened in venial sin, and saves lost souls destroyed in mortal sin. Nothing could be more necessary.
So the next time you feel the need to pat yourself on the back, first give a wink to the guy hanging on the Crucifix. After all, He had a lot to do with your current run of goodness!