February 14, 2022

Second Homily on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"Open unto me the doors of repentance, Giver of Life."

From this Week, the Week of the Publican and the Pharisee, the Holy Church begins to sing: "Open unto me the doors of repentance, Giver of Life!"

This means that Great Lent will soon come and, therefore, soon we will need to confess our sins. Let's take a look at these lyrics.

"Open unto me the doors of repentance." Are these doors shut, and shouldn't we ourselves open them for ourselves? Indeed, sometimes they are shut for us, and we ourselves, without the help of God, cannot open them in any way. What does it mean? The fact that sometimes it is very difficult for us to repent of sins, not to remember our sins as we should, not to weep sin-washing tears for ourselves. We think that we are not sinners, that we have not offended God with our sins, sometimes it is very difficult for us to go to confession to the confessor, we do not consider it necessary to go, without this confession we are calm, like the sick who are unconscious.

Why is this? Why is it difficult to repent? Why is it hard to go to confession? Why are the doors of repentance shut? For the same reason why all kinds of doors can become tightly shut; if you do not open any doors for a long time, do not go into them for a long time - they will get stronger shut, they will become tighter shut, and you will not open them soon after. The same happens with the doors of repentance: if you do not repent of sins for a long time, do not go to confession for a long time, it will be hard to go, and it will be difficult to repent.

Yes, if at that hour or day when you sin, you don’t think about your sin, you don’t grieve, you don’t weep, if you don’t remember it for a week, a month, two, three months, then you can no longer mourn about it like you had grieved before, it will be difficult for you then to weep as much as penitent sinners weep. If you don’t go to confession during the current fast, if you don’t go to confession for a year, two, three, then it will not be easy for you to get ready to go; and if you don’t visit for five years or more, then it will be very difficult for you to go; you cannot remember without fear that you must go: the door of repentance will seem impregnable to you.

Everything is good to do in due time, otherwise the easy will become difficult, and the possible will become impossible. And the disease, if it gets old, is tricky to cure, and the stain on the dress, if you don’t wash it off soon, is not easy to wash after; and the field, if you do not weed it every year, you will not soon clear it of unprofitable grasses.

So, listeners, remember that the doors of repentance will become very tight for us, that is, it will be very difficult for us to repent of our sins and it will be very difficult for us to go to confession if we do not repent for a long time, if we do not go to confession for a long time. And therefore every day repent of your sins; immediately, as soon as you sin, cry before God about your sins and make a promise to confess them in due time before your spiritual father in confession more often. Do not let spiritual illness grow old in you, wash away your sinful filth as soon as possible, do not hesitate to cleanse your soul from vicious thorns for a long time.

And we all postpone our repentance, we all say: we will repent later. So when? Oh, you can't repent after death! Otherwise, when? Before death? No, be afraid of this reassurance: repentance before death is too unreliable and mostly useless. The one who is dying of hunger finally becomes so weak in strength that he can no longer take food, which in due time could have saved him from death. So the one who dies in sins before death becomes so weak in spirit that he cannot, does not dare to use repentance, this medicine that saves from sins.

No, as soon as possible, as soon as possible repent!

Open unto me the doors of repentance, Giver of Life! Quickly, immediately, as soon as we sin, help us to repent, weep, mourn and lament over sins. Hasten, in the upcoming fast, to help us to confess to the confessor, to receive from You through him forgiveness and remission from our sins. Amen.