The Nativity Fast as a Cure for Foolishness: Homily for the 25th Sunday after Pentecost and the 9th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Ephesians 4:1-7; Luke 12:16-21           We may have a hard time identifying with the rich man in the parable from today’s gospel lesson.  He had such an abundance of grain and other possessions that he did not have room to store them; he needed to build larger barns in order to hold all his wealth. Once he did that, he planned simply to relax and enjoy himself for…

To be Healed by the Good Samaritan: Homily for the 8th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Luke 10:25-37             It is tempting to use religion to help us feel better about ourselves. Too often, we want to make God in our own image and let ourselves off the hook from anything that challenges us to do something different from what we want to do. It can be very appealing to try to use God for purposes other than the healing of our souls. That is the attitude that…

What’s at Stake in How We Treat our Neighbors: Homily for the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost and the 5th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Ephesians 2:4-10; Luke 16:19-31   A few days ago, seven Coptic Christians were killed in Egypt as they were going on a pilgrimage to a monastery.  A week ago, eleven Jews were killed as they worshiped in a synagogue in Pittsburgh.  Houses of worship of whatever kind are increasingly targets for violence and vandalism.  Many of the perpetrators of such terrible deeds are motivated by distorted religious beliefs that lead them to…

Faith Beyond Words: Homily for the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost and the 7th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Galatians 6:11-18; Luke 8:41-56           What does it mean to have faith?  What do we want from religion?  What can we hope for from God?  These are the kinds of questions that we tend to overlook because they threaten to take us out of our comfort zones.  Many people do not want to think about “the big questions” too much because they can easily make us uncomfortable and…

Mindfulness in the Garden of our Souls: Homily for the Sunday of Holy Fathers of Seventh Ecumenical Council & Fourth Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Titus 3:8-15; Luke 8:5-15            If the Lord’s disciples had trouble grasping the meaning of the parable of the sower, we should not be surprised if we do also.  Unlike them, we do not live in an agricultural society in which people were familiar with planting seeds and growing crops.  In that time and place, there was no doubt that life itself depended on the success of raising…