No fasting this week! We prepare for Pascha/ Easter by weeks of fasting and abstinence, but when we launch the preparation for Great Lent, instead we start without any fasting. Instead, we have to answer the call of the Gospel – interior conversion to true spirit of humility.
We are invited to board the boat of the spiritual life and sail out into the deep, to start to take quiet time and reflective time and be restored by the Lenten spring.
What was correct about the Pharisees? They indeed fasted twice a week, on Monday and Thursday; they gave 10% of their income to the synagogue and temple and charities; they said all the daily prayers, answered people’s moral and spiritual questions. They were the most popular among the people of the leading Jewish groups – scribes, Sadducees, teachers. They went outside of ritual to explain the law and empower people to be accurate in following the law. They themselves went beyond the requirements of the law to emphasize the need for Jewish piety.
And the publican? Tax collector for the Roman empire, one of the tax farmers who took more than was owed in order to enrich themselves. Despised by all, enemies of the nation, he dares to go up into the temple. To repay those from whom he stole, he would have to give the whole amount, plus 20%. It was not possible, and so he throws himself on God’s mercy.
When Jesus begins the parable, everyone knows how it is going to end – the publican is in the Pharisee’s shadow, God will hear the Pharisee’s prayer, and be angered at the audacity of the publican for even going up to the temple to pray.
Beginning with the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, the Lenten Triodion includes the weeks of both the preparatory Sundays and of Great Lent, ending with Holy Week.
All of the Triodion is directed to forcing we sinners to enter into ourselves and to understand our unworthiness;
to teach us to reject the highly praised pride of the Pharisee, to pray with humility like the Publican,
to repent like the Prodigal Son and accept the embrace of almighty God as our Father,
to tremble before the Dread Judgment of God and seek to avoid damnation through interior conversion,
and then on Cheesefare to lament the loss of paradise and set out to regain it by self-examination and self-education, and purification
so that having taken up the saving works of the fast during Holy Forty Day Lent, imitating our Savior, who fasted for forty days in the Jordanian desert; in order that, having put lamentation upon lamentation and pouring out tears,
and having looked into the great acts of the Lord, fulfilled by him in the last days of His earthly life, that we mentally suffer and are crucified with the Deliverer in order to come to new life.
Washington DC March for Life in 2012
The most un-reported mass civil protest in America takes place on Friday, January 25: the National Right to Life in Washington, DC. Watch the evening news and see how many show this march, which brings tens of thousands to our capital, and check out the morning paper on Saturday for coverage. It is routinely ignored or minimized, and air time given to pro-abortion speakers instead.
Worse, air time or press reports will cover the Catholics in our nation’s leadership who will deny Church teaching and simple biology of the fact of a human life in the womb for the sake of political powers. Pray for their redemption.
Only Communist China and the USA allow the killing of babies at any time from conception until during the birth itself.
Watch EWTN for live coverage and repeated in the evening. And pray that our government leaders will listen!