Humbly Refusing to Remain in the Dark: Homily for the Thirty-First Sunday After Pentecost & the Fourteenth Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

1 Timothy 1:15-17; Luke 18:35-43           It may seem too obvious to mention, but we must remember that our Lord ministered to people at their point of greatest need.  He did not congratulate them for their self-sufficiency or distract them from facing uncomfortable truths, but healed them of their deepest infirmities.  He raised them up from the low points of their weakness and despair.  His blessing was not…

Learning to See and Serve Outsiders as Neighbors: Homily for the Twenty-Ninth Sunday After Pentecost & the Twelfth Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Colossians 3:4-11; Luke 17:12-19             One of the most memorable trips I have ever taken was to Syria in the fall of 2010, only a few months before the nation descended into the chaos of bloodshed and humanitarian crisis.  The conference I participated in was sponsored in part by the Patriarchate of Antioch, and it was wonderful to visit and pray in ancient and beautiful churches and monasteries, to receive a blessing…

Wearing a Robe of Light in the Region of Shadow and Death: Homily for the Sunday After Theophany (Epiphany) in the Orthodox Church

Ephesians 4:7-13; Matthew 4:12-17           In this season we celebrate the great feast of Theophany, of Christ’s baptism when the voice of the Father identified Him as the Son of God and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove. Epiphany reveals that the Savior Who appears from the waters of the Jordan to illumine our world of darkness is the God-Man, a Person…

Preparing for Christ’s Baptism by Repentance: Homily for the Forefeast of and the Sunday Before the Theophany (Epiphany) of Christ in the Orthodox Church

2 Timothy 4:5-8; Mark 1:1-8           Today is the Sunday before the Feast of Theophany (or Epiphany), when we celebrate Christ’s baptism in the river Jordan and the revelation that He is truly the Son of God.  His divinity is made manifest and openly displayed at His baptism when the voice of the Father declares, “You are my beloved Son” and the Holy Spirit descends upon Him in…

Obedience in Unanticipated Circumstances: Homily for the Sunday after the Nativity of Christ in the Orthodox Church

  Matthew 2:13-23 Christ is Born!  Glorify Him! As we continue to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world, we must resist the temptation to think that we have heard the story so many times that we no longer really have to pay attention.  Like the other great feasts of the Church, the Nativity provides us with an invitation each year to enter more fully in to…