On Serving One, Not Two, Masters: Homily for the Great Martyr Kyriaki of Nicomedia and the Third Sunday of Matthew in the Orthodox Church

Galatians 3:23-4:5; Matthew 6:22-33           Today we celebrate the memory of the Holy Great Martyr Kyriaki, who gave the ultimate witness for Jesus Christ by refusing to worship pagan gods and giving up her life after suffering brutal persecution from the Roman Empire.  A beautiful young virgin, Kyriaki came from a wealthy family, but she refused the offer of marriage to the son of a magistrate who wanted…

Receiving and Giving Freely, Like the Apostles: Homily for the Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles in the Orthodox Church

1 Corinthians 4:9-16; Matthew 9:36-10:8             Today we commemorate the twelve apostles, looking to them as examples of faithfulness to the Savior.  As with many aspects of our faith, we may be so familiar with them that we take their ministry for granted and do not see how their witness has much to do with us.  After all, they were our Lord’s disciples during His earthly ministry and did not fully understand…

Acknowledging Christ by Loving Our Enemies: 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              Some of us grew up in churches that gave as little attention as possible to the saints out of fear that honoring those who served our Lord so faithfully would somehow distract us from worshiping only Him.  Today’s reading from Hebrews makes exactly the opposite point, for the “great cloud of witnesses” inspires us to “lay aside every weight” and to “run with perseverance the…

More Powerful than Water, Wind, and Fire: Homily for the Great Feast of Pentecost in the Orthodox Church

Acts 2:1-11; John 7: 37-52; 8:12           On today’s great feast of Pentecost, we celebrate the Holy Spirit coming upon the followers of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, which is the birthday of His Body, the Church.  After the Savior’s resurrection, He ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to His disciples so that they would not be cut off from Him and the new life that…

Ascending with Christ into Heavenly, Not Earthly, Glory: Homily for the Sunday After the Ascension and Commemoration of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in the Orthodox Church

Acts 20:16-18, 28-36; John 17:1-13   Forty days after His glorious 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.  The Ascension shows that through Him…