God’s Foolishness and Weakness Are Greater Than the World’s Wisdom and Strength: Homily for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in the Orthodox Church

1 Corinthians 1:18-24; John 19:6-11, 13-20, 25-28, 30-35             Before Pilate said of Christ “Behold your King!,” his soldiers had beaten and mocked Him.    They put a crown of thorns on His head, dressed Him in a purple robe, and slapped Him in the face as they said, “Hail, king of the Jews!”  Pilate could see that the Savior was no political threat to Rome and was reluctant to crucify Him, but…

Offering the Fruits of Our Lives Instead of Using Religion to Hoard Them: Homily for the Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost and the Thirteenth Sunday of Matthew in the Orthodox Church

Matthew 21:33-42           Many of us have become comfortable with the place of religion in our lives.  We have our routines of coming to services, praying at home, and engaging in other spiritual disciplines. We are used to thinking of ourselves as Orthodox Christians and members of this parish.   Familiarity breeds contempt, however, and we must be on guard against the temptation of assuming that faithfulness to the…

Embracing the Humility to Accept that “By the Grace of God I Am What I Am”: Homily for the 12th Sunday after Pentecost and the 12th Sunday of Matthew in the Orthodox Church

1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Matthew 19:16-26       It is not hard for people who have it pretty easy in life to think that all is well. If they assume that they have met the expectations of society, then they can pat themselves on the back and rest content.  But when a hard challenge comes along that they are not prepared to meet, their eyes will open a bit to the truth…

Forgiving from the Heart Requires Humility: Homily for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost and the Eleventh Sunday of Matthew in the Orthodox Church

1 Corinthians 9:2-12; Matthew 18:23-35            The Lord often taught in parables.  A parable is a very short story that makes a particular point.  Parables can spark our imagination and challenge us to see ourselves in a new light.  Christ’s parables call us into question and get to the heart of the matter of where we stand before God.  They help us to see the truth about ourselves…

Spiritual Strength Comes Through Entrusting Ourselves to Christ: Homily for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost and Tenth Sunday of Matthew in the Orthodox Church

1 Corinthians 4:9-16; Matthew 17:14-23             The honesty of the Bible about the failings of so many of its main characters is astonishing.  That is true of Abraham, Moses, David, and even our Lord’s disciples, who eventually became great leaders of the Church and living icons of His salvation.  In the encounter recorded in today’s gospel reading, their spiritual vision was still clouded and unfocused.  That is why they lacked the strength…