The Fifth Sunday of Great Lent
And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again. And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared. And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John. But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.(KJV)
St. Mary of Egypt
And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, Andstood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace .(KJV)
The last week of Great Lent has arrived. Holy Week will soon be here. Believers desiring to sincerely benefit will use the time remaining to completely repent and seek unity with the Lord.
The Church provides Great Lent for the benefit of believers to live increasing in the ways of the Lord. This Fifth Sunday of Great Lent is dedicated to St. Mary of Egypt. Repentance is the dominant theme.
Repentance is intended throughout Great Lent. Emphasis on repentance increases with the arrival of the Fifth Sunday. The Church holds St. Mary of Egypt as a clear example of repentance.
Hope exists for all believers regardless of the extensiveness of sins. The Lord welcomes sinners choosing to repent. These days of Great Lent the Church welcomes believers to repent, confess and to unite with Lord in communion.
Today’s Gospel of St. Mark describes the events Christ will face. Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection are mentioned in the Gospel. As Holy Week approaches, the arrest, death and resurrection of Christ dominate the mind.
All else in the world needs set aside in the days leading to Pascha.
Repentance is necessary for each believer and for all in the Church. Repentance will benefit every soul and the communities in which believers reside.
This is a time of the greatest hope as the days to Pascha draw near. Darkness in the world soon will be replaced with the brightness of Pascha. Dark days do not last just as Christ did not remain in the tomb.
Believers do well to hold on to hope in the Crucified and Resurrected Christ. Believers do well to appreciate the opportunity to have sins forgiven. Today’s Gospel of St. Luke verifies Christ’s willingness to forgive sins.
The sinful woman in the Gospel of St. Luke shed tears before Christ and had her sins forgiven. Every believer has the opportunity to prostrate before the Lord in confession and receive forgiveness.
Today is the day to repent. Today is the day to confess and fall down before Christ in tears. Christ’s healing love and welcoming embrace make the repenting believer whole and well.
Health comes to the soul with repentance. Healing comes to the mind and heart with repentance. Peace replaces anxiety when repentance occurs. Christ’s love heals the hurt felt in the heart and mind when repentance takes place.
Trust in the Lord is well-placed. Believers choosing to repent are never disappointed. Christ welcomes the sincere of heart, mind and soul. This is the day and the hour for repentance.
The Fifth Sunday of Great Lent. St Mary of Egypt. Holy Martyrs Agathopodus and Theodoulos. April 5/18, 2021. Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania.
Father Rodney Torbic