“What Have You Got Worth Living For? True Love!”–St. Valentine, Marriage and the Orthodox Faith

Readings: Hebrews 13:4 Genesis 1 and 2; Ephesians 5; Tobit (especially 8:4-8) My children’s generation grew up on a classical love-story, tinged with touches of humor: The Princess Bride, more often watched in the film version than read in the book by William Goldman. I remember my middle daughter Alexandra being delighted that the story begins with a grandfather telling his ill grandchild a story, when she was also home ill from…

Humility that is Heard In Heaven: The Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee

2 Timothy 3:10-15; Luke 18:10-14, 4 Kingdoms 19:9-20; Phil. 2: 5-11. This week, especially on February 2nd, we concentrated upon that poignant story of Jesus’ presentation at the Temple, when he is brought by St. Joseph and his Holy Mother at 40 days after his Nativity to be received by the elder Simeon. Here we see the infant Lord and his Mother in a display of deep humility: for they came, according…

The “Sub-Apostle” Holy St. Timothy (Jan 22, 2017)

1 Timothy 4:9-15 In writing to the Philippians, who were, it seems, finding the virtues of unity and humility hard to embrace, the holy Apostle Paul has this to say: I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be cheered by news of you. I have no one like him who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. …But Timothy’s worth you know, how…

The New and the Circumcized: An “Afterward” on The Circumcision of Christ and New Year’s Day

Colossians 2:8-12; Luke 2:20-21, 40-52, Various verses in Exodus, Deuteronomy and Numbers For our family, this season has been a time of new things: the first Christmas of two babies (my eleventh and twelfth grandchildren) and the welcoming of a new puppy. These fresh lives seem appropriate as symbols of the (secular) New Year, and as reminders to us that God Himself graced our world, coming among us in new flesh— the…

Not Strictly Necessary: The Three Youths and St. Joseph (Vespers and Sunday before Christmas)

Daniel 3// The Song of Azariah; Matthew 1; Deuteronomy 10:14-21. For the past three years, I have, with joy and some nostalgia, unwrapped my mother’s three little Goebel figurines, called “The Flight into Egypt”, and put them on a table that is too dangerously low for a grandmother with twelve grandkids. But I want it to be seen. For a while, there were only two figures—the Theotokos on the donkey, and an…

Untold Freedom: Tenth Sunday of Luke, Feasts of Saints Barbara and John of Damascus

Luke 13:10-17; Gal 3:23-4:5; 2 Samuel 6 This Sunday we consider the Great-Martyr Barbara, our father the Venerable John of Damascus, words from St. Paul about our participation in Christ, and the gospel story of the woman who was made straight by Jesus, liberated from the eighteen-year prison of her bent body. The two saints, along with the readings from Scripture, have one thing in common—they proclaim “the glorious liberty of the…

Only Surface Deep: Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost & Ninth Sunday of Luke

Galatians 6:11-18; Luke 12:16-21; 1 Chronicles 28:9 As I began to think about this week’s blog and podcast, and make some notes, I struggled with the first line of what I was trying to write. I tried THREE times to get a pesky comma deleted, only to find that I was deleting text. Looking more closely at the screen, I discovered that the “comma” was a dirt-speck, on the surface of the…