The Pharisee and the Publican (Thanks Father Stephen)So Lent is coming early this year. I’m not sure I quite understand why, but apparently it is. In the Eastern Churches we have three preparatory weeks before Lent starts to get our act together and our hearts in the right place.

They recall the Pharisee and the Publican, the Prodigal Son, and the Expulsion of our First Parents from Paradise. This week obviously reminds us that we can fast till we are blue in the face, but if it’s not accompanied by metanoia it’s worthless.

I got to thinking about the publican and the pharisee today. I wonder if there’s an implicit irony in the parable. Cause, if we hear that parable and go “Oh, yeah, that pharisee sure is a jerk. I’m sure glad God didn’t make me like…” Hey! Wait a minute!

It’s almost like there’s another layer of meaning to the parable all wrapped up in how you respond to the character of the pharisee. Shoot man, you don’t know what’s up with that guy. Maybe he’s going through some stuff you don’t even understand. Quit making him out to be the villain all the time.

Catholic moms have a bunch of sayings that, as a protestant without Catholic friends, I was never exposed to. Among them is, when a kid is acting self-righteous in relation to another person, “Just remember, they could go to heaven and you could go to hell.”

We’re preparing for a season of repentance. So repent, Pascha is at hand. And give the pharisee a break. He could be in heaven and you could end up in hell.