When I was at Christendom, the chaplain gave a sermon on yesterday's Gospel about the Pharisee and the Publican. In that sermon he said that the prayer of the Publican, "Have mercy on me a sinner" was really, "Have mercy on me the sinner." I had never heard that anywhere else and didn't know how to go about checking it. I liked the "the" much better than the "a" because, as the chaplain said, it showed an even greater difference between the two in the Temple. The Publican, unlike the Pharisee was comparing himself to no one. He was not a sinner among sinners, he was the sinner. In talking with God it mattered not to the Publican if there were other sinners, he knew he was sinful in the eyes of God and that was all that mattered.
Even though I had never heard this anywhere else, I taught it at Seton because I assumed it was right. Then yesterday, I was reading the Lectio Divina in the Magnificat. Here's what I read. "In Greek, the tax collector uses the definite article in describing himself as the sinner!"
Jezu, ufam Tobie.