The Struggle for Freedom from the Fear of Death: Homily for the Sunday After the Elevation of the Holy Cross in the Orthodox Church

Galatians 2:16-20; Mark 8:34-9:1           In celebrating the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we do something that would have made no sense to anyone at the time of our Lord’s ministry in first-century Palestine.  The cross was then the most feared instrument of execution that the Romans used to discourage anyone who thought of rebelling against the military occupation of their homeland.  That is why Pontius Pilate had…

How a Barren Couple and the New Eve Prepared the Way for the Cross: Homily for the Sunday Before the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos in the Orthodox Church

Galatians 6:11-18; John 3:13-17           One does not have to know very much about the different religions of the world to know that they differ not only in how they answer spiritual questions, but in what questions they ask.  Who is God?  What is the nature of the human person?  What is our fundamental problem?  What is salvation? These are only a few key questions that quickly reveal…

A Kingdom Not of This World: Homily for the Ecclesiastical New Year in the Orthodox Church

First Timothy 2:1-7; Luke 4:16-22 It is usually very difficult to learn to see something in a new way, especially when it requires changing how we view ourselves.  It is hard to learn to see our place in the world in a new light, for we easily assume that our preconceived notions are obviously true.  But unless we are willing to call ourselves into question, we will never be open to anything…

Strength and Integrity Through Faith and Faithfulness: Homily for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost and the Tenth Sunday of Matthew in the Orthodox Church

1 Corinthians 4:9-16; Matthew 17:14-23             Hypocrites bring judgment upon themselves by saying one thing and doing another.  Those who declare themselves holy do themselves and others much more harm than good.  It is better to keep our mouths shut than to claim qualities we do not possess. St. Paul had such concerns in mind when he responded to his opponents in Corinth by contrasting the ministry of true apostles with the…

Staying Grounded on the One True Foundation: Homily for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost and the Ninth Sunday of Matthew in the Orthodox Church

1 Corinthians 3:9-17; Matthew 14:22-34             People view the church in many different ways.  Some think of it as a private club for meeting the spiritual needs of its members in a way that is ultimately self-centered and insular.  Contrary to popular opinion, the mission of Christ’s Body is not to help us ignore or escape from the world, but to manifest a sign of its salvation.   As members of the Savior’s…