Mindfulness in the Garden of our Souls: Homily for the Sunday of Holy Fathers of Seventh Ecumenical Council & Fourth Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Titus 3:8-15; Luke 8:5-15            If the Lord’s disciples had trouble grasping the meaning of the parable of the sower, we should not be surprised if we do also.  Unlike them, we do not live in an agricultural society in which people were familiar with planting seeds and growing crops.  In that time and place, there was no doubt that life itself depended on the success of raising…

Healing our Weakness Through His Strength: Homily for the 19th Sunday After Pentecost and the 3rd Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

2 Corinthians 11:31-12:9; Luke 7:11-16           People often go to extraordinary lengths to hide their weakness from others and even from themselves.  Out of insecurity and fear, we do our best to appear before our neighbors as self-reliant and strong, even when that is very far from the truth.  Perhaps we think that, if we can fool others, we can even fool ourselves. One of Saint Paul’s greatest…

Blessings Demand Self-Denial: Homily for the Conception of the Forerunner and Baptist John and the 1st Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Galatians 4:22-27; Luke 5:1-11            It is a heavy burden for married couples not to be able to conceive and bear children.  That is true today in our society, and it was certainly the case for Jewish couples in the first century.  Zechariah and Elizabeth had waited a very long time for God to bless them with children, and they had likely given up hope at their advanced…

The Struggle to Take Up the Cross: Homily for the Sunday After the Exaltation of the Cross in the Orthodox Church

Galatians 2:16-20; Mark 8:34-9:1           In some ways, people today are too familiar with the image of the cross.  Some wear it as just another a piece of jewelry or otherwise use it to symbolize values or organizations that have nothing to do with the cross through which our Lord conquered death.  Unfortunately, those who confess its true spiritual significance can easily rest content with beliefs about the…

A New Creation Through the Cross: Homily for the After-Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos and the Sunday Before the Elevation of the Cross in the Orthodox Church

Galatians 6:11-18; John 3:13-17   Our worst arguments are often with the people closest to us, especially members of our own family.  Perhaps the more we have in common with others, the easier it is to disagree about how things should be done and about what is really most important.  That is true not only in our families and marriages, but also when it comes to religion. In today’s epistle reading, St.…