Our life on earth is horizontal and cyclical. We are born, grow up, and then we join eternity. The seasons of the year are also cyclical: spring, summer, fall, winter. Our life becomes history and nature bears seeds to prolong its life. Our church calendar with its Feasts is cyclical and it helps us grow spiritually to look forward to our eternal existence.
The parable of the Publican and Pharisee opens the season of Triodion for our spiritual life. This season progressively ushers us to Great Lent, to our preparation for the passion and resurrection of Christ. As the baseball teams prepare themselves now for their baseball season, the same way our church, with its liturgical services and disciplines, prepares us for Lent and Easter.
In the person of the Pharisee, Jesus exposes the sin of pride, the mother of all evil, that leads us away from God to our spiritual catastrophe. History and the Bible are full of examples of Proud people who have become an anathema for mankind.
In contrast, repentance and humility, the mother of all virtue, are a flowering oasis, in the desert of our everyday life. As human beings, we struggle in our everyday life. We frequently fall, succumbing to the Temptations of life and we distance ourselves from God, ignoring the chastisement of our conscience. But suffering, disappointments and inner emptiness, slowly bring us to our good senses. We acknowledge our wrong, our sin, repent, and forgiven, we return to our heavenly father, like the prodigal son.
Let us in humility, avoid the boastful Pharisee and, like the Publican, acknowledge our sins and shortcomings before God. In repentance and humility, let us return to our heavenly father to be accepted and restored to the sanity of our spiritual life. Our Church Services invite us to come to The Divine Liturgy every Sunday and grow spiritually with the liturgical seasons.