Lent is the springtime cleaning of the soul
We are only a few weeks away from the beginning of Great Lent, and this is therefore a good time to take a closer look at just what faith means. However simply it might be, whatever we do to please God is important, for in the eyes of the Lord, however simple our deeds are, if they are performed to please Him, Our Lord will reward us.
This means that God is more pleased with us when we’ve gone out of our way to give money to a poor beggar, than if we’ve stripped ourselves of all our possessions for some purpose other than for the glory of God. Even if the purpose is good and desirable, if it is not done out of love of God, it is ultimately of no eternal value.
This is the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, when the Church encourages us to emulate the virtues of the Pharisee and the humility of the Publican, while casting aside the sins of the Publican and the horrific pride of the Pharisee.
With love in Christ,
Sunday February 21, 2021 / February 8, 2021
Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee. Tone four.
Great-martyr Theodore Stratelates (“the General”) of Heraclea (319).
Prophet Zechariah, from among the 12 Minor Prophets (520 BC).
St. Lyubov of Ryazan, fool-for Christ (1921).
New Hieromartyrs Simeon, Andrew, Sergius and Peter priests (1938).
New Hieromartyr Alexander priest (1942).
St. Sabbas II, archbishop of Serbia (1271).
St. Macarius, bishop of Paphos in Cyprus (Greek).
Martyr Conitus of Alexandria (249).
St. Agathangelus, bishop of Damascus (ca. 325).
Sts. John and Basil of the Kiev Caves.
St. Kew, virgin of Cornwall.
St. Cuthman, hermit of Steyning.
Martyrs Nicephorus and Stephen (Greek).
Martyrs Philadelphus and Polycarp (Greek).
St. Pergetus (Greek).
The Scripture Readings
He Is Risen
24 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ”
8 And they remembered His words. 9 Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
2 Timothy 3:10-15
The Man of God and the Word of God
10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Read full chapter
10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other;for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”