Offering Our Blessings and Sufferings in Hope: Homily for the Third Sunday After Pentecost and the Third Sunday of Matthew in the Orthodox Church

Romans 5:1-10; Matthew 6:22-33           We often take for granted the benefits of living when and where we do.  From modern medicine to running water and computer technology, we enjoy benefits and conveniences that make our lives very different from those of past generations.  Despite the obvious imperfections of our society, we have freedoms and resources that far exceed those of most people throughout history and around the…

How to Pay Attention and Obey: Homily for the Second Sunday After Pentecost and the Second Sunday of Matthew in the Orthodox Church

Romans 2:10-16; Matthew 4:18-23           It is much to easier to think, feel, and talk than to actually do something.  Jesus Christ said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21)  He also taught, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (Jn. 14:15)  Too many people who…

Bearing Witness to Christ as Distinctive Persons: 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           “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”  This ancient saying conveys a deep truth about the Christian faith that we would probably rather not acknowledge, at least with reference to our own lives.  The root meaning of the word “martyr” is witness, and those who refuse to deny Christ even to the point of death provide powerful…

Bearing Witness to the World with Integrity by the Power of the Holy Spirit : Homily for the Great Feast of Pentecost in the Orthodox Church

Acts 2:1-11; John 7:37-52; 8:12          On this day of Pentecost, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit as a sign of the restoration of human persons, both individually and collectively, in the divine image and likeness.  The deep thirst of fallen humanity for living water that fulfills our deepest desires is now quenched. God is not remote, distant, or removed, but present and active in the souls…

Becoming Truly Human by Ascending with Christ: Sunday of the After-Feast of the Ascension 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…