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The Gospel reading of this Sunday is about all of us. It is the Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee. You see, we are either one or the other, Publicans or Pharisees. We are either persons who admit their mistakes and repent for them, or persons who think of themselves as better than others. The Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee portrays these two distinct personalities, who represent how most people deal with their spiritual condition. The Publican, on the one hand, falls on his knees requesting the mercy and the forgiveness of God. Jesus presents his example as an inspirational paradigm of repentance. We also fall on our knees during holy confession requesting forgives, as our Lord taught us. The Publican made an open confession out of humility and piety: “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” We also confess to Christ with the guidance of a priest openly and without reservation; this way we cultivate our humility and we motivate ourselves to remain on the right path of salvation. Christ gave to His disciples and apostles the responsibility and the divine ministry to forgive sins: “Whomsoever sins you forgive, they are forgiven, whomsoever sins who retain, they are retained.” We should not be embarrassed to open our hearts to our spiritual father; this way, our repentance will be conscious and heartfelt.

Parents want their children to be open with them in order to help them with their personal issues and dilemmas in life. We should also be open with our spiritual father, so that he may always give us the right advice for our spiritual dilemmas and issues. We entrust our spiritual father with our most precious possession, our soul. We want to go to Heaven, and he will coach us in that spiritual journey. When we go to the doctor, we disclose our pains and maladies to the physician so that he may make a proper diagnosis and give us the right treatment. The spiritual doctor has to be entrusted with the pains and sorrows of our lives, in order to assess the appropriate treatment and medicine for our salvation. 

The sacrament of holy confession is called the shower of the soul that purifies and sanctifies all of us. Sometimes, it is easier to point out the mistakes of others rather than our own insufficiencies. Nobody is perfect, only Christ has no sins. Therefore, with the Lord’s Grace and compassion we may all receive the divine inspiration to be humble, compassionate and loving. Great and Holy Lent is at hand. The holy Fathers of the Church chose today’s Parable to be read, so as to prepare all of us appropriately for the spiritual Golgotha of Lent. This preparation includes repentance, confession, humility, prayer, love and charity. It also requires that we do not condemn, criticize nor gossip others like the Pharisee. For this reason, the Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee is about all of us. With the Grace of God, it will be about people who walk the road for salvation, through the avenues of humility and love.

+Economos Nikiforos Fakinos