Becoming Truly Human by Ascending with Christ: Sunday of the After-Feast of the Ascension in the Orthodox Church

Acts 20:16-18, 28-36; John 17:1-13              Forty days after His glorious resurrection, our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ ascended in glory into heaven and sat at the right hand of God the Father.  He did so as One Who is fully divine and fully human, One Person with two natures. He ascended with His glorified, resurrected body, which still bore the wounds of His crucifixion.  The Ascension shows that through Him…

The Light Shining in the Darkness: Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Pascha, The Sunday of the Blind Man in the Orthodox Church

Acts 16:16-34; John 9:1-38   Christ is Risen!              As we near the end of our celebration of Pascha, the Church directs our attention today to how the brilliant light of our Lord’s glorious resurrection overcomes the darkness of sin and death.  The man in our gospel reading whose sight the Lord restored had been blind from birth, having known only darkness throughout his life.  He symbolizes us all, for until the light…

The Powerful Witness of the Great Martyr Photini: Homily for the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman and After-Feast of Mid-Pentecost in the Orthodox Church

Acts 11:19-30; John 4:5-42 Christ is Risen! Today we continue to celebrate our Lord’s great victory over death by remembering the Great Martyr Photini, also known as the Samaritan woman at the well.  At first glance, she would  seem an unlikely saint and evangelist.  The Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans, whom they considered heretics.  She had had five husbands and was then with a man to whom she was not…

The Weak Receive Strength Through Obedience: Homily for the Sunday of the Paralytic in the Orthodox Church

Acts 9:32-42; John 5:1-15 Christ is Risen! On the previous two Sundays, the Church called us to focus on how particular people responded to our Lord’s death and resurrection.  Thomas did not believe until he saw and touched the wounds of the Risen Savior.     Joseph of Arimathea took Christ’s body down from the Cross and, with the help of Nicodemus, buried Him.  The myrrh-bearing women went to the tomb very early in…

Set Free from the Fear of Death to Serve and Love: Homily for the Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women, Pious Joseph of Arimathaea, and Righteous Nicodemus in the Orthodox Church

Acts 6: 1-7; Mark 15:43-16:8 Christ is Risen! Today we commemorate those who, in moments of profound crisis, did not think only of themselves, but instead cared for the dead body of their Lord as a sign of their love for Him.  With broken hearts and in terrible shock and grief, the Theotokos, Mary Magdalen, two other Mary’s, Johanna, Salome, Martha, Susanna, and others whose names we do not know, went early…