Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council: the Apostolic, Conciliar and Concrete Church

Readings for Great Vespers and Divine Liturgy: Genesis 14:14-20; Deut. 1:8-11, 15-17; Deut. 10:14-21; Matt. 5:14-19; Titus 3:8-15. I write this blog for the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council as I am flying to Fort Worth, Texas, to speak at an event for Catholic Anglicans, concerning the importance of conciliarity. There I will meet with old friends (and no doubt make new friendships) from the Anglican community,…

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost: “Beloved For the Sake of Their Forefathers”

Readings: Romans 10:1-10; Deuteronomy 30:8-15. One of the things about the gift of a lectionary is that we faithful eventually end up reading uncomfortable passages. Our epistle reading, Romans 10:1-10, is part of Paul’s three chapter passage (Romans 9-11) concerning the place of Israel, the Torah, and Jesus in God’s plan of salvation for the world. Here the apostle Paul exclaims, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them [the…

Third Sunday after Pentecost and of Matthew; Light, Peace and Wrath: One of these Things is Not Like the Others?

Romans 5:1-10; Matthew 6:22-33; Psalm 127:1-2; Baruch 3:12-20 I continue to be amazed at the bracing realism of the word of God: at times we are brought face to face with sin and death; almost in the same breath, the word speaks of “the hope of the glory of God.” After all, that is what light does—it illumines what is there (not always a pretty sight!), as well as showing the way…

The Sunday of All Saints: Memory Eternal!

Readings: Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38; 19:27-30; Heb 11:33-12:2; Gen 12:1-10; Sirach 44:1-15 Memory eternal! I remember the first time that I heard this expression, as someone coming to know Orthodoxy. Its prominence in the Orthodox community when speaking of the faithful departed puzzled me, because I supposed that we ought to speak more of the certainty of the resurrection: probably if I had attended a memorial during the Paschal season, when we sing…

The Ascension: Christ’s Victory, Our Hope!

Readings: Luke 24:46-52; Acts 1:1-12; Isaiah 2:2-3; Isaiah 62:10-63:9; Zechariah 14:1-11. The Ascension is, among those who call themselves Christians, a relatively neglected Feast, except among who those hold to the ancient liturgies. No doubt the event itself is problematic for the contemporary imagination, as C. S. Lewis pointed out half a century ago—skeptics scoff at the prospect of a three-story universe, and the bizarre picture (for those of the twenty-first century)…

The Sunday of the Samaritan Woman: Living Water, The Gift WHO IS God

Readings: John 4:5-42 and MANY OT Texts! It is common to hear scholars speak of Christians in one breath with Jews and Christians as “people of the Book.” And, indeed, we honor the Scriptures (including the Old Testament) deeply, as did Jesus, who, along with the religious leaders of his day, began with the presupposition that “the word of God cannot be broken!” St. John the Golden Mouthed reminds us of the…

Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women: Anointing and Faith

Readings: Mark 15:43-16:18, Acts 6:1-7; Psalm 44 (MT 45); Exodus 40:1-15 My heart overflows with a goodly theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe. You are more beautiful than the sons of men; grace has been poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever. Gird your sword upon your thigh, O Mighty One, in your glory and beauty! In…