We Need a Humble Lent in These Troubled Times: Homily for the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican in the Orthodox Church

Luke 18:10-14            The disruptions of what we think of as normal life in our society in the last year should open our eyes to the reality of what it means to be human persons in the world as we know it.  Despite the scientific and medical advances that we take for granted, a virus can still easily bring death, disease, and disruption in ways that no one can fully control.  As usual,…

Unlike Idolatry, True Worship Calls Us into Question: Homily for the Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost and the Seventeenth Sunday of Matthew in the Orthodox Church

2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1; Matthew 15:21-28             We all like to get what we want when we want it and on our own terms.  Experience teaches, however, that very often it is better to have to wait and overcome obstacles we had not anticipated before our desires are met.  When we have to persevere, we learn to accept our own limitations as we learn to see ourselves and our place in the world…

Investing Ourselves Fully In Christ: Homily for the 16th Sunday After Pentecost, the 16th Sunday of Matthew, and the After-Feast of the Presentation (Meeting) of Christ in the Temple

2 Corinthians 6:1-10; Matthew 25:14-30             Today we continue to celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, when the Theotokos and St. Joseph the Betrothed took the forty-day old Savior to the Temple in obedience to the requirements of the Old Testament law.  This is a feast in which we celebrate how the Child born at Christmas has fulfilled the hopes of the children of Abraham and…

Blessing Others as We Have Been Blessed: Homily for the Fifteenth Sunday of Luke (“Zacchaeus”) in the Orthodox Church

Luke 19:1-10           Of the many people whose lives were changed when they encountered Christ in the gospels, the story of Zacchaeus stands out in distinctive ways.  As a Jew who had become rich collecting taxes for the Romans from his own people, Zacchaeus was both a traitor and a thief, for he collected more than was required so that he could live in luxury from the oppression…

Grounding Our Lives on the Mercy of Christ, Not the Praise of Others: Homily for the Thirty-first Sunday after Pentecost, the Fourteenth Sunday of Luke, and the Commemoration of Blessed Xenia of St. Petersburg, Fool-for-Christ, in the Orthodox Church

1 Timothy 1:15-17; Luke 18:35-43           Many of us give far too much attention to what other people think about us.  We want the approval of others and fall into resentment when their praise and appreciation are not forthcoming.  When that happens, the problem is not with how others view us, but that we have become captive to the passions of pride and vainglory, which can easily corrupt…