Sons of Abraham, the Son of Man, and a Wee Little Man: Sunday of Zacchaeus

Readings: 1 Timothy 4:8-15; Luke 19:1-10 Daniel 7:12-14; 17-18; 1 Chronicles 16:7-14 What makes a BIG human being? What does it really entail to “man up,” to use a politically incorrect, but graphic “exclusivist” expression? Our readings for Divine Liturgy this Sunday, the Sunday of Zacchaeus, tell the story of a man who was small in stature AND status, but who met the Lord Jesus, and show us half of the conversation…

Loving Lepers, Foreigners and Israel: Twelfth Sunday of Luke and St. Anthony the Great

Hebrews 13:17-21; Luke 17:12-19; 2 Kings (4 Kingdoms) 5; selections from Isaiah This Sunday, as we remember our great Father Anthony who deliberately went into the desert in order to become closer to God, we also hear the story of one who made an outcast by his condition, and how he was healed by our Lord: As Jesus entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance…

On Dragons, Water, Light, and the Holy Trinity: Theophany and its Forefeast

Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7; Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:1-8 Isaiah 9:1-2; 27:1; 40:1-10. I remember when I first encountered the Orthodox Church, I was surprised at the “spin” that they put on the feast of Theophany, celebrated at the same time as the Western Epiphany. I was not used to contemplating the Holy Trinity at this time of year, but accustomed to focusing upon Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, the anointed, as seen…

Rahab? One of these names is not like the others! (Sunday before the Nativity)

Hebrews 11:9-10, 32-40; Matthew 1; Joshua 2, 6:23-25 For someone not brought up in the Orthodox tradition, this Sunday’s reading from the gospel may seem strange: why read a genealogy in Church? That may be interesting for the historian or the Biblical scholar, but what does the ordinary person do with all those “begats”? Indeed, the genealogies of the Old Testament are one of the reasons that the novice, reading sequentially through…

By Hook or by Crook: On Shepherds, St. Nicholas and the Great Shepherd of the Sheep (December 06, 2015)

Readings: Hebrews 13:17-21; Luke 13:10-17 (Fast); Ezekiel 34; Wisdom of Solomon. (4:7-15) Though most of us inhabit twenty-first century cities, Christians (and especially Orthodox) have a high comfort level with the ideas of shepherds and shepherding. The prominence of actual shepherds throughout holy Scriptures, from the wandering patriarchs through to those who were in the fields at the Nativity, gives us a sense of familiarity. Then there the numerous references to the…

“Remember that you were a slave!” On Riches and Status (Ninth Sunday of Luke)

Readings: Ephesians 4:1-7; Luke 12:16-21; Deuteronomy 15:11-15; 16:11-12; 24:14-22 When I describe my formation in the Salvation Army as a youngster (I was the fourth generation of two families that were saved from degradation by this para-church group!), I like to say, using a Newfoundland expression, “It’s a good place to be from!” Membership in this activist faith community meant that, even in our mostly middle-income “corps” (parish), we were not strangers…

More on Angels: OCA reading Luke 10

A short “Addendum” to my blog on angels: I noticed today that the OCA gospel reading for this Sunday of the synaxis was Luke 10:16-21, rather than the story of Jesus raising Jairus’ daughter, the reading for the Antiochians. Certainly this is an interesting reading to put alongside Hebrews 2, and on a day when we remember the authority of the archangels, as well as the incomparably great authority of the Son…