A man who accepted God’s mercy into his heart will be good to his neighbor, for he knows how difficult it is to overcome his own sin.
This was emphasized by the Head and Father of the UGCC His Beatitude Sviatoslav in his sermon about the Tax Collector and Pharisee during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ on Sunday, February 17, 2019.
“Every time we read or listen to the words of the Holy Gospel, a wonderful event of God’s revelation is taking place. For when the Lord speaks His word, He is revealed to us. First of all, He speaks of Who He is for us,” said the Head of the UGCC.
And then he added: “Evangelist Luke tells us about two men who came to the temple to pray. The Almighty carefully listens to the person whenever he finds time, strength, and attention to talk with Him. Moreover, the Creator hears not only what we say to Him, He knows much more than what we want to say in words. He looks deeply into our hearts.”
According to him, God’s movement to man is called God’s mercy. And so, in order to show man how to pray and approach the Heavenly Father, the word of God describes two ways of prayer.
“Saint Ephraim the Syrian says that it is much easier for a person to thank God for doing something good than to show Him the other side of his heart, asking mercy for his sins … The Pharisee, whose figure we now can meet also among Christians, is a person who thanks God for the good that he has done. The Almighty rejoices in the good deeds of man. But what is the mistake of such a way of standing in front of God? The fact that the Pharisee, who only shows his good qualities, seems to say: “God, I do not need Your forgiveness and mercy. I need you to acknowledge my righteousness.” This type of human posture before God does not allow the Lord to approach this person. This is an example of what the Scriptures call as a sin against the Holy Spirit,” said the spiritual leader of the Greek Catholics.
“Every Pharisee is extremely demanding for others and condemns everyone around. He believes that he is better than the others. It seems that he is worthy of respect and attention not only from people, but also from God. But the one who knows his sins and accepts in his heart God’s mercy will be merciful to his neighbor, for he knows how hard it is to overcome his own sin,” said the Head of the Church.
It should be noted that at the end of the sermon, His Beatitude Sviatoslav wished all to feel loved by God so that we could bear the mercy of God in the world, and also be the first to forgive and love.
Department of Information of the UGCC