This Sunday we begin our methodical and deliberate journey to the joyous feast of Pascha. Although Great Lent formally begins on March 2nd, we are given the three preceding Sundays as an opportunity to understand what it is that we are journeying too, why it is important, and what the journey asks of us.
Through these three Sundays of preparation for the fast, we encounter through scripture, and hymns the themes of: repentance, restoration, hope and love. We also encounter themes of pride, rejection, greed and indifference. All this is given to us that we might see what is of God and His love for us, and what is of our own brokenness and fear.
It is the recalling of our vocation of having put on Christ in our baptism, sealed by Holy Spirit in our Chrismation, and a communicant in Him through eating and drinking His Body and Blood.
This journey to Pascha, this journey to reclaim our vocation, starts with the example of humility exemplified by the Publican in the Gospel for this Sunday. It is humility and not pride that brings restoration to the publican, “a son of Abraham”. It is humility that brings restoration to us, “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Lk. 19:9-10). Humility is the most important element in our journey, in our reclaiming our vocation in Christ. Without it, how can there be real repentance, how can there be any charity and love? There can’t.
Let us begin this journey, this recall of our vocation, with the humility of the Publican, and the assurance that “he who humbles himself will be exalted.”Exalted even on the third day, the Lord’s glorious Pascha.