Synopsis: The major thrust of Great Lent is given many times in the services for the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee, such as “Vainglory brings to nothing the riches of righteousness, but humility scatters a multitude of passions. Grant then that we may seek humilty, O Savior, and do Thou bestow upon us the portion of the publican; (Matins canon, Ode 3). This time is for the pursuit of humility, because without humilty we will not be saved. What can we glean from the publican and pharisee? The worst sin of the pharisee was his judgment of the publican. Above all things, we must not judge others. Since this sin is so pervasive, how can we learn to not judge others? END:SUB:Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee
Two themes of Great Lent: We must become humble to be saved, and Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.
Today, brothers and sisters, in the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, we have witnessed the one of the themes of Great Lent being proclaimed. We must become humble if we are to become justified. This is the whole reason why we go through all of our exercises, the fasting, increased prayer, increased almsgiving, more introspection, increased prayer at home and in the church. The reason for it is not so that we can feel good about ourselves. Christianity is not about feeling good about yourself; Christianity is about becoming good. The only way to become good is to become humble. If we are humble, we see the truth; we see ourselves; we see God; we see what we need and what God can give. […]
The Lord did not say, “Two men went to the temple”, but “went up” into the temple.
Even now there are some who come to the holy church without going up. […]
St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas
January 31/ February 13 2011
Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee
1. Who is St. Valentine?
3. Prayer Requests
4. Commemorations, past week, coming weeks
5. Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week
6. NO Fasting in the Coming week
Commentary on 1 Peter 4:1-2
Our life must be an emulation of Christ. He voluntarily suffered; we must VOLUNTARILY suffer. This idea is not well known or well-liked among many people, including Christians. In emulating Christ, we acquire His mind – we think like Him, act like Him, and begin to understand Him. Since salvation is to know God …
The readings for today, Tuesday, the 38th week after Pentecost are from 1 Peter and Mark. We should read the Scriptures with understanding. Here are a few points about these readings.
Why does humility lead up to the heights of righteousness, whereas self-conceit leads down to the depths of sin? Because anybody who thinks he is something great, even before God, is rightly abandoned by God, as one who thinks that he does not need His help. …
The unseen patron of evil is full of evil ingenuity. Right at the beginning he can drag away, by means of hopelessness and lack of faith, the foundations of virtue already laid in the soul. Again, by means of indifference and laziness, he can make an attempt on the walls of virtue’s house just when they are being built up. Or he can bring down the roof of good works after its construction, by means of pride and madness. …
Jesus will show Himself to every man, without exception. Why is it that some, such as Zacchaeus see Him as He really is, and others such as the crowd who judged Zacchaeus, do not see Him even though He is in their midst? The whole point to life is to "see Jesus", that is, to know Him. Zacchaeus gives us import instructions as to how to accomplish this. Every day, we must be like Zacchaeus, recognizing who we are, and how little we are and how much our sins present an obstacle to knowing God, and run ahead of them to await the Lord coming to us. HE will always come – are we always in the proper state of mind to receive Him?
Today, brothers and sisters, we have a “before” story and a “beginning” story. It is appropriate on this Sunday – only four Sundays remain now after this Sunday before Great Lent. On this day we talk about Zacchaeus, how he was before, at the beginning of the salvation. And it is appropriate because during Great Lent should be, for all of us, a struggle to become more spiritual, to know more about ourselves and about God, to do good works, to pray, to fast.
It’s a struggle that is difficult. We will see next Sunday the prayer of the Publican. In our mind’s eye, we think of Zacchaeus when we think of the Publican and the Pharisee, when he was crying: “Oh, God, be merciful to me a sinner”, because he felt the weight of his sins. This is after Zacchaeus had been received by Christ, and he had entered into the struggle against his passions.
In the Christian life salvation comes to us by degrees, because salvation is us being changed. We change by degrees. Nobody changes all at once. You might make a decision at a critical moment in your life as Zacchaeus did, but you don’t change all at once. You change with struggle.
Now, what happened to Zacchaeus …