Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee
The Sunday after the Sunday of Zacchaeus is devoted to the Publican and the Pharisee. At Vespers the night before, the TRIODION (the liturgical book used in the services of Great Lent) begins.
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. These are very good things, and should be imitated by anyone who loves God. 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.
From the Lenten Triodion
Brothers, let us not pray like the Pharisee!
He who exalts himself will be humbled.
Let us prepare to abase ourselves by fasting;
let us cry aloud with the voice of the Publican:
“O God, forgive us sinners!”
The Pharisee went up to the temple with a proud and empty heart;
the Publican bowed himself in repentance.
They both stood before Thee, O Master:
the one, through boasting, lost his reward,
but the other, with tears and sighs, won Thy blessing:
Strengthen me, O Christ our God, as I weep in Thy presence,
since Thou art the Lover of man
Beginning of the Lenten Triodion
The Lenten Triodion is the service book of the Orthodox Church
that provides the texts for the divine services
for the pre-Lenten weeks of preparation, Great Lent, and Holy Week.
Fr. Thomas Hopko
Psalm 137 is a communal lament about exile after the Babylonian captivity,
and yearning for Jerusalem. The psalm is sung during the three Sundays before the Great Lent.
We are a family church of many cultures with intergenerational worship; we have a full liturgical life throughout the Church year, with many opportunities for joyful fellowship and enduring growth. Our vision is to “manifest the Kingdom of God by proclaiming and living the Orthodox Christian Faith.” Orthodox Christianity is for everyone — come and see!
Located at the north end of California's San Joaquin Valley, St. Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church is dedicated to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to His promise of salvation to all mankind. The services of our mission-parish are located in the heart of Merced.
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