(Luke 18, 9-14)
The publican accuses himself and God justifies him
When, while praying before God, you become self-righteous like the Pharisee, not only does your soul not profit, but you’re in a worse state than before. This is because there is now an obstacle, a kind of wall, between you and God. This means that God does not accept you. If, however, like the publican, you are aware of your sinfulness and become humble, the instant you hope in the compassion of God, God forgives you, cleanses you, regenerates you. The publican blames himself, and God justifies him: he accepts his repentance, his humble prayer, and he forgives him. Man is not able to be purified alone, no matter how much he labours. God must purify him.
Do we, as Christians, have the disposition to see ourselves and to reveal our sin to God? If we don’t become humble, we won’t be able to see either our sins or our passions, nor to feel the compassion of God.
Let us now, not later, stand before God like the publican with much sincerity, and with his help let us surpass our inhibitions and all of our workings which don’t allow us to thrive spiritually. And let us hope that the Lord accepts us, in that exact moment, when we approach him in all sincerity. The point isn’t simply for you do something, but to do it well, to do it correctly. Whatever virtue you may have, if you become proud, it is useless; God doesn’t heed your voice. That said, however many sins you may have, if you repent you are justified before God.
Archimandrite Symeon Kragiopoulos
Holy Hesychasterion “The Nativity of Theotokos” Publications.
The Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee