The Last in This World Will Often Be the First in the Kingdom of Heaven: Homily for the Feast Day of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke in the Orthodox Church

Luke 10:16-21           It is sad that many people today do not have heroes or even role models whose example they want to follow.  One of the many reasons that we remember the saints in the Orthodox Church is because they are vibrant examples of what it looks like when human beings are fully open to God.  They shine brilliantly with holiness and inspire us to become like…

Of What or Whom Are You An Icon?: Homily for the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council and the Fourth Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Titus 3:8-15; Luke 8:5-15           One of the most obvious characteristics of any Orthodox church is the presence of icons.  They certainly beautify the church, but it would be a mistake to think that they are present merely for aesthetical reasons.  They actually manifest the deepest truths of our faith, including the good news that the Son of God became fully human in order to restore us as…

We Must Mourn Our Sins in Order to Love Our Enemies: Homily for the Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost and the Second Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1; Luke 6:31-36            We do not have to know much about the Christian faith to know that love is the central theme.  The Savior said that, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him may not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn. 3:16) He also taught that the greatest commandment is: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with…

The Importance of Patiently Letting Down Our Nets in Obedience: Homily for the Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost and the First Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

2 Corinthians 6:1-10; Luke 5:1-11            If there is any virtue that seems completely foreign to our culture today, it is patience.  From fast food to cell phones, from transportation to losing weight, we want instant results and think that something is wrong if we do not get what we want immediately.  Thoughtful people learn, however, that disappointments and delays are often actually good for us.  They inspire us to see ourselves and…

The Idolatry of Not Taking Up Our Crosses: Homily for the Sunday After the Elevation of the Holy Cross and The Great Martyr Eustathios in the Orthodox Church

Galatians 2:16-20; Mark 8:34-9:1           As we continue to celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we do something that would have made no sense to anyone at the time of our Lord’s ministry in first-century Palestine.  The cross was then simply the most feared instrument of execution that the Roman Empire used to discourage anyone who thought of rebelling against the military occupation of their homeland.  Our…