Reflection by Rev. Luke Palumbis
St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas 

"So let us rise and fast, offering alms with tears of compunction.” —Kontakion, tone 4

The pilgrimage of Great Lent is the Church’s invitation for the faithful to recognize and receive the gift of God’s grace.

Recognizing God’s grace begins with recognizing our need for it. Individuals and communities alike eventually come to the understanding that life offers both opportunities and challenges—many explored and overcome through self-efforts or the help of others; others bring us to the humbling realization that they’re beyond our capacity to navigate. In this moment of self-awareness, we have the greatest opportunity to mature in our faith, accepting that we need God. Such maturity positions us to receive His grace.

Journeying to receive God’s grace is the path embarked upon by Christians. Knowing that He can offer His grace in any way He chooses, we respond by investing where He has assured us He does—we participate in the life of His Church.

Often misunderstood as a period of tasks and legalism, Great Lent is an opportunity to remind ourselves that we need Him, and that He is present for us in His Church.

In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, the paralytic and his peers understand that they need Christ, and they present themselves to Him so that something beyond their control can take place by His grace. Each of us can offer to Christ the opportunities and challenges in life, and in the lives of others, by coming to Church during Great Lent. His grace is waiting for you—rejoice!

We thank you, our King and our God, for the gift of Your grace, and Your rich blessings. Make us careful stewards of those gifts that we may serve our neighbors.