Beautiful Icons Bear Good Fruit: Sunday of the Holy Fathers of Seventh Ecumenical Council and the Fourth Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Titus 3:8-15; Luke 8:5-15   Icons certainly beautify the church, but not simply in the conventional sense of being aesthetically pleasing.  Instead, they manifest visually that the Son of God has called and enabled us to become His beautiful living icons.  They show that the Savior has made us participants by grace in His deified humanity so that we may shine brightly with the divine glory. Today we commemorate the 367 Holy…

“Now is the Day of Salvation”: Homily for the Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost and the Third Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

2 Corinthians 6:1-10; Luke 7:11-16            As we read in today’s gospel text, the widow of Nain certainly had no expectation that the day of her son’s death was “the day of salvation.”  It had been the worst day of her life, for in that time and place a widow who had lost her only son was in a terrible state.  Poverty, neglect, and abuse would be real threats to her life; she…

Loving our Enemies as “Earthen Vessels” of God’s Mercy: Homily for the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost and the Second Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

2 Corinthians 4:6-15; Luke 6:31-36           People think about how to live a good life in many different ways.  Some want rules to follow, regardless of how obedience to them impacts their neighbors.  Others focus on achieving the results that they think are best, even though we often cannot predict the consequences of our actions.  It is also possible to construe the good life in terms of virtues…

Becoming Our True Selves Together by Loving God and Neighbor: Homily for the Repose of Saint John the Evangelist and Theologian in the Orthodox Church

1 John 4:12-19; John 19:25-27; 21:24-25              There is much today that discourages people from building the kinds of relationships that help us flourish together as persons united in love.  In many ways, it is easier to think of ourselves as isolated individuals and to act accordingly than it is to share a common life with other people. It is certainly possible to be a member of family, a church, or any…

We Must Freely Take Up Our Own Crosses: Nothing Can Force Us To Do So: 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 our time and place, there are dangers in being too comfortable with the symbol of the Cross.  Some people wear one around their necks simply as a piece of piece of jewelry without any particular spiritual significance.  Across the centuries to this very day, some nations and groups use it as a vague symbol of religious endorsement for whatever they want to…