Born for our Liberation from Bondage: Homily for the 25th Sunday After Pentecost and the 10th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

  Ephesians 4:1-7; 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 her life had changed due to her disability, how frustrating that chronic illness had to be.  The Lord said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” When He laid hands on…

Receiving Christ’s Peace with the Humility of a Blind Beggar: Homily for the 24th Sunday After Pentecost & the 14th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Ephesians 2:14-22; Luke 18:35-43             As we continue to prepare to welcome the Savior at His birth at Christmas, our gospel and epistle readings remind us of the proper attitude that we must cultivate during these weeks of intensified prayer, fasting, and generosity.  Since so much in our culture distorts this season into a celebration of materialism and self-centered indulgence, we must remain focused on pursuing a very different path that leads…

How to Respond to Uncomfortable Truths About Ourselves: Homily for the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost and the 13th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Ephesians 2:4-10; Luke 18:18-27      We have all had experiences in which we have learned uncomfortable truths about ourselves.  When that happens, we have a choice about what to do next.  It is possible to recognize a weakness or failing and then to do what we can to overcome it.  Too often, however, we give up hope and fall into despair due to our hurt pride.  That is precisely what the…

Now Is The Time to Prepare to Become “A New Creation” at Christmas: Homily for the 22nd Sunday After Pentecost and the 9th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Galatians 6:11-18; Luke 12:16-21           Barns and temples are very different places.  Usually when we think of barns, we think simply of structures to house farm animals or to store crops, not of places with much spiritual significance. The rich man in today’s gospel lesson thought of his barns only in terms of his earthly possessions, of which he had such an abundance that he looked forward simply…

The Danger of Justifying Ourselves by Narrowing Down our Neighbors: Homily for the 21st Sunday After Pentecost and the 8th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Galatians 2:16-20; Luke 10:25-37             It is sobering how easily we can corrupt any good thing, including faith in Jesus Christ.    Some people fall into the delusion of thinking that they love God and neighbor, when in reality they serve only themselves.  One symptom of doing so is to narrow down the kind of people who count as our neighbors such that we excuse ourselves from seeing and serving Christ in all…