Preparing to Enter into the Freedom of Beloved Sons and Daughters at Christmas: Homily for the Great-Martyr Barbara of Syria, the Tenth Sunday of Luke, and Commemoration of Venerable John of Damascus in the Orthodox Church

Galatians 3:23-4:5; Luke 13:10-17             When Jesus Christ was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath, He saw a woman who was bent over and could not straighten up.  She had been that way for eighteen years.  Imagine how frustrating that chronic illness had to be, especially in a time before modern medicine and physical therapy.  The Lord said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” When He laid hands…

Preparing to Receive Our Peace at Christmas: Homily for the Twenty-fourth Sunday After Pentecost and Thirteenth Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Ephesians 2:14-22; Luke 18:18-27             As we prepare to welcome Christ at His Nativity, we must be on guard against the subtle temptation to make the season all about ourselves and our place in the world. That may seem like a strange temptation, but it is very easy to get so caught up in buying presents, planning parties and trips, and indulging in sentimental feelings that we somehow overlook the obvious reason…

We Must Prepare in Order to Become Living Temples of God: Homily for the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple

Hebrews 9:1-7; Luke 10:38-42; 11:27-28      Today we celebrate the feast of the Entrance into the Temple of the Most Holy Theotokos. Her elderly parents Joachim and Anna offered Mary to God by taking her to live in the Temple in Jerusalem as a young girl, where she grew up in prayer and purity as she prepared to become the Living Temple of the Lord in a unique and extraordinary way…

We Must Live the Liturgy of our Great High Priest Every Day of Our Lives : Homily for John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, and the Eighth Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Hebrews 7:26-8:2; Luke 10:25-37       There is an ancient Christian saying that the rule of prayer is the rule of belief. Our worship as Orthodox Christians manifests what we believe, and what we believe informs our worship.  How we pray shapes our souls and how we relate to God, as well as to our neighbors.  We must live in accordance with our prayers and beliefs in order to avoid the…

Trust in Christ’s Healing Mercy and Refuse to Despair: Homily for the Twenty-first Sunday After Pentecost and the Seventh Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Galatians 2:16-20; Luke 8:41-56                   Many people are filled with fear and worry today, even to the point of losing all hope.  The effects of the multi-layered trauma of the global pandemic remain with us, as do threats of so many kinds to peace and wellbeing around the world. Deaths of despair are on the rise in our nation, as are words and deeds…