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…

Things Hidden and Things Revealed: Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost and Seventh Sunday of Luke

Galatians 1:11-19; Luke 8:41-56; Isaiah 43:9-13 It is perhaps significant that in this ecclesial year we read during Divine Liturgy from the first chapter of Galatians twice in the space of two weeks. This happens because Galatians 1:11-19 is the passage appointed for St. James’ day, which happened to be on the Lord’s Day this year, and it is also appointed for Divine Liturgy this week. Paul’s “independent” words here are particularly…

The God Who Makes Himself Known: James the Brother of God, Sixth Sunday of Luke

Luke 8:26-39; Gal 1:11-19; Luke 16:19-31; Jeremiah 31:31-34 This weekend, the Orthodox community is united in remembering James, the brother of the Lord, but we have different gospel readings: Luke 8:26-39 for some of us, and Luke 16:19-31 for others.  Both gospel readings, and the epistle appointed for St. James touch on similar themes, fortunately.  The reading from Galatians 1:11-19 gives us an inside look into the experience of St. Paul, his…

The Gift(s) of the Evangelist Luke: Special Blog for St. Luke’s Feast-day!

“With Sacred Songs, let us praise the holy Apostle: the Narrator of the Acts of the Apostles and Author of the Bright Gospel of Christ , the All-Hymned Luke Whose Fame is not Confined to Christ’s Church for He is the Physician who Heals Men’s Ills,  Nature’s Frailties and the Soul’s Injuries and he Prays Unceasingly, for our souls.” + Troparion of St. Luke the Evangelist, Tone 5 The name Luke has become…