Ascending in Holiness Through the Body of Christ: Homily for the Sunday of the After-Feast of the Ascension and the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council

Acts 20:16-18, 28-36; John 17:1-13                      We are now in the season of the Ascension in the Orthodox Church, when we celebrate our Lord’s ascent into heaven forty days after His resurrection.  It is easy for us to pass over this feast without paying much attention because it comes between Pascha and Pentecost.  The danger of doing so, however, is that if we…

The Samaritan Woman and the End of Idolatrous Religion: Homily for the 5th Sunday of Pascha in the Orthodox Church

Acts 11:19-30; John 4:5-42 Christ is risen! Sometimes we think that it is always good to be religious.  The problem with that assumption, however, is that human beings tend to make false gods out of whatever they want in this world.  When that happens, it is all too easy to identify ourselves with all that is right and good, and to condemn others as hated sinners for whom there is no hope. …

Healing Demands Humble Obedience: Homily for the Sunday of the Paralytic in the Orthodox Church

Acts 9:32-42; John 5:1-15             Christ is Risen! In this glorious season of Pascha, we continue to celebrate our Lord’s victory over death in His resurrection on the third day.  Today we proclaim that He liberates us not only from the grave, but also from the paralysis and weakness that keep us from living with the freedom and strength of His sons and daughters.  Our hope for sharing in the joy of…

It’s Not About Getting What We Want: Homily for Palm Sunday in the Orthodox Church

Philippians 4:4-9; John 12:1-18           Sometimes we have to wonder what people mean when they call themselves Christians.  So much is said and done today, and has been across the centuries, by those who identify themselves with the Lord with their words, but not with their deeds.  As a guard against self-righteousness, we must criticize ourselves first along these lines, not others.  If the spiritual of disciplines taught us…

How to Say Yes to God: Homily for the Feast of the Annunciation to the Most Holy Theotokos in the Orthodox Church

Hebrews 2:11-18; Luke 1:24-38             Today we celebrate the very best example of how to live faithfully as a human being before God with the feast of the Annunciation.  When the Archangel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she was to become the Theotokos, she freely accepted this extraordinary calling when she said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me…