Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Journey

Today we begin a journey. I wouldn’t call it a new journey since we take this journey every year, but a journey to a new place. Today we begin a special season the Church calls the “Triodion” and it is a journey to Great Lent. Beginning today, the Church invites us to consider the condition of our soul as we take this spiritual journey. The Church invites us to consider first if we want to join Christ in heaven, and second if we are willing to take the necessary action required of a believer in Jesus Christ. This journey is a three week (four Sunday) journey toward Pascha.

Our first stop along the journey today is the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee, through which the Church calls us to humble prayer. “God be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18.13) In this Parable our Lord compares two well known realities of people. One humble; the other not. One knew, and followed all the religious rules; the other not. One saved; the other not. Through this comparison the Tridion prepares us for Great Lent by asking us to look inside our heart with tough questions.

Do we think we are better than others?
Do we think our sins are less important than others?
Do we think lives are better examples of holiness than others?
Do we think our sins separate us from God?
Do we think our sins have control over our future?
Do we think our sins need to be forgiven by God?

How you answer these questions will affect the way you spend the next several weeks between now and Pascha. If you answer by comparing yourself to how others are so much worse and act so much worse than you, then you will lose the opportunity that awaits you on this year’s journey. If you answer by saying how your life is so much better than others, then you will lose the opportunity the Church offers you on this year’s journey. If you already think you’re holy, then you have already lost the chance to grow closer to God during this year’s journey.

If on the other hand you realize that your life isn’t as close to God as you originally thought, or that you wouldn’t dare to even look up to heaven for fear He may see into your heart, then lucky for you, this year’s journey will be just in time. CONGRATULATIONS! You have already learned the lesson of true Christian humility. If you are willing to accept that you are a sinner that needs to repent (change your way of viewing the world) then you have already won the battle to invite God to life in your heart.

This year’s journey is familiar because you are invited to travel each year, but have you ever accepted the Church’s invitation to join her on the path to Pascha? Have you ever accepted that, despite or how good you may think you already are or how sinless you may think you already are, we all have a long way to go to become like God.

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