The Sunday after the Sunday of Zacchaeus is devoted to the Publican and the Pharisee. Two men went to the Temple to pray.
One was a Pharisee who scrupulously observed the requirements of religion: he prayed, fasted, and contributed money to the Temple.
We who may not fulfill these requirements as well as the Pharisee did should not feel entitled to criticize him for being faithful.
His sin was in looking down on the Publican and feeling justified because of his external religious observances.
The second man was a Publican, a tax-collector who was despised by the people.
He, however, displayed humility, and this humility justified him before God (Luke 18:14).
The lesson to be learned is that we possess neither the Pharisee’s religious piety, nor the Publican’s repentance, through which we can be saved.
We are called to see ourselves as we really are in the light of Christ’s teaching, asking Him to be merciful to us, deliver us from sin, and to lead us on the path of salvation.
We are just three short weeks away from the beginning of Great Lent which begins on Monday, March 3 following Forgiveness Sunday. Check our Service Schedule for upcoming services/events.
If you were not able to attend Fr. Justin’s Catechetical Series he presented last fall at the Wednesday evening Christian Education classes, and would like to listen to them, they can be accessed at the following link: 2013 Fall Catechetical Series
This series is a basic introduction to Orthodox Christianity. Fr. Justin welcomes any comments, questions, or feedback you have as you listen to the talks. Please email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.