Eighth Sunday of Matthew: Loaves, Fish and Family

Readings: Matthew 14:14-22; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17, Ezekiel 34:11-23, 2 Kings 40-44, Psalm 23. All four gospels tell the story—or actually, the stories about how Jesus multiplied loaves and fishes, and fed multitudes.  The Orthodox Church gives the same weight to this action of Jesus, since we read not only the version from Matthew 14:14-22 this Sunday, but also  that of Mark 6:30-45 on the 15th Thursday after Pentecost, Mark 8:1-10 on the…

Forgiveness and the Authority of God’s Children: Sixth Sunday of Matthew

Readings: Matthew 9:1-8; Romans 12:6-14; Jeremiah 31:27-34; Jonah 3:1-10 “To err is human; to forgive is divine.” Indeed! Our Lord and God Jesus Christ both fulfills and breaks down this dichotomy, as we follow him through many episodes in his earthly life. He was the one human being who did not err—at least, in terms of morals, which is the focus of this well-known saying.  We are told by the apostle Paul…

Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

Feast of St. Mary Magdalene This Friday coming is the feast day, both in the Western and Eastern Church, of St. Mary Magdalene. It is a particularly poignant time for me, since it is the name-day of my  firstborn daughter, Meredith (Mary Magdalene), who was the first of our family to be chrismated and received into Orthodoxy, years before the rest of us followed.  This year, it is even more meaningful, since…

Second Sunday after Pentecost: Discipleship and Doom

Readings: Romans 2:10-16; Matthew 4:18-23; Isa 53:2-5 This weekend, two weeks beyond Pentecost, we get into the brass tacks of our faith, and commence our reading of Matthew. The particular emphasis of the gospel of Matthew is one that has been especially difficult for western Protestants. It is in this gospel that we hear of Jesus’ commendation of the ethics and standards of the Torah; it is here that Jesus goes to…

Holy Pentecost: Water, Light and Living Words

Acts 2:1-11; John 7:37-52; 8:12; Genesis 11:1-10; Joel 2:28-32; Ezek. 36:24-28. Seeing! Feeling and Tasting! Hearing! Pentecost is a multi-sensory feast, just as our liturgy engages all the senses. Its narrative in Acts 2 has connections with multiple passages in both the Old and New Testaments: some of these are made obvious, and others are merely implied. Together with the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and…

At Odds With the Power-That-Be! The Sunday of the Blind Man

John 9:1-38; Acts 16:16-35; Psalm 2; Daniel 7 As we move towards Ascension Day, that high point of the great story when our Lord reveals his might and glory, takes our humanity up on high, and presents it to the Father, we hear, on this Sunday of the blind man, two stories of conflict between Jesus (and his followers) and the world. We have been set up for these stories by our…

The Sunday of the Paralytic

John 5:1-15; Acts 9:32-42; Micah 4:1-7 St. John Chrysostom, in his 37th Homily on the Gospel of John, reminds us of how the Scriptures speak to us: “GREAT is the profit of the divine Scriptures, and all-sufficient is the aid which comes from them. And Paul declared this when he said, “Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written aforetime for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come, that…