Archpriest Maxim (Bykov)

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Dear brothers and sisters, we have heard from the Gospel today (Luke XVIII:10-14) that for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted. When we are listening this parable about Pharisee and the tax collector we understand these words in example of those two men, who came to the Temple.

Generally, tell me what is a Temple? The temple is a house, where God’s power always presents, where a person can come and unite with much more perfect God’s power and get God’s grace.

We have to understand that there are people, who do good things, but at the same time they want other people notice their kindness and admit that they are good. Pharisee was that kind of man. He came to the temple, stood in front of all people and he just wanted the confirmation from God that he was so nice, he did not pray much. Do you understand? He wanted God to confirm it. People had already confirmed that, so now he wanted God to do it. As if he prayed: “Oh God, tell me that I am so nice, better than others, better than the man, who was standing near the entrance. I am so good, I do so many good things. I fast twice a week, etc.” He did not understand that God does not need to see doings; He wants to see the soul.

To see human soul means to see a prayer to God, exact words of prayers. Because when a person comes to the temple, he brings his gift to God. Somebody brings a gift of sincerity, someone – love. It is the same as you go visiting. When you pay a visit to a good man, you bring something for him. Do you understand? Somebody brings a sincere wish of good, good mood for that people, he wants to communicate with.

But when a man comes to the temple he brings a gift of sincerity and confession to God. “Oh Lord, forgive me.” It is a great gift, which a person can give to God. And the Lord accepts these gifts and will give back everything this man wishes for. The main is forgiveness. God will forgive; He will help in the life and heal physically and spiritually.

But it will become true only if a person asks for it and prays: “God, help me!” The person does it sincerely and with love, because he/she understands the appeal to God. The man throws away all human thoughts, life problems and realizes who he/she is.

When the man understands that he/she is not perfect, that he is not sure in some things, that he does a lot bad things at this moment the understanding comes and through it a sincere prayer for help appears. Because a person understands his weakness and imperfection and how difficult is to live. He wants God’s help. And when a person really wants help, the Lord will certainly help. When a person is not sincere, does not ask for help, but only boast in front of Him, He can’t help, because a man does not want God’s help. Such person only wants recognition of his perfection in front of the world and God.

So, there is a difficult choice in front of us – how to communicate with God, what gift bring to Him and what to ask. We have to understand that and be ruled by that in our lives, that our life could be full of God’s power. That we understand who we really are. Do not cover with insincerity or good doings. Be real and true. God wants us to be sincere with each other; He wants us to understand our nature and make steps to our salvation.

Let the Lord save you!