On Offering Our Blessings Back to God for Fulfillment According to His Purposes: Homily for the Dormition of Righteous Anna, Mother of the Theotokos, and the 5th Sunday of Matthew in the Orthodox Church

Galatians 4:22-27; Matthew 8:28-9:1           Conventional family ties are certainly a blessing from God, but they are easily corrupted by our common inclination to make matters of less than eternal significance our ultimate concern.  The story of the Old Testament is largely an account of the family of Abraham and Sarah from generation to generation.  It is shockingly realistic about their myriad failings to follow the blessed path…

Becoming the Light of the World Through the God-Man: Homily for the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of Fourth Ecumenical Council in the Orthodox Church

Titus 3:8-15; Matthew 5:14-19    “Often disappointed, but seldom surprised.” That old saying describes how we must respond to much of what passes for Christianity in our culture today.  Instead of manifesting the deified humanity of the Savior as “the light of the world,” many commit the idolatry of using Him as a mascot for seeking first the kingdoms of this world.  In doing so, they make Christ merely an icon of…

We Can All Bear Faithful Witness by the Power of the Holy Spirit: Homily for the Sunday of All Saints in the Orthodox Church

Hebrews 11:33-12:2; Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38; 19:27-30            On this first Sunday after Pentecost, we commemorate all those who are so filled with the Holy Spirit that they shine brightly with holiness as saints of God.  It is fitting that we do so right after Pentecost, for it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we may become “partakers of the divine nature” in fulfillment of the…

Restoring Our True Unity in God: Homily for the Great Feast of Pentecost in the Orthodox Church

Acts 2:1-11; John 7:37-52; 8:12           People look for unity in many different places.  By identifying ourselves as fans of athletic teams or members of ethnic groups or political factions, we can gain a sense that we are part of something powerful, substantial, and fulfilling.  That is more appealing than feeling weak, anonymous, and alone in the world.  No wonder, then, that there is so much division between…

Ascending in Holiness with the God-Man: Homily for the Sunday of the After-Feast of the Ascension and Commemoration of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council in the Orthodox Church

Acts 20:16-18, 28-36; John 17:1-13              Forty days after His resurrection, our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ ascended in glory into heaven and sat at the right hand of God the Father.  He did so as One Who is fully divine and fully human, One Person with two natures. He ascended with His glorified, resurrected body, which still bore the wounds of His crucifixion.  Our Lord’s Ascension reveals that we, who…