Liberated from Bondage and Barrenness: Homily for the Conception of the Theotokos by Righteous Anna and the 10th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Galatians 4:22-27; Luke 13:10-17           A few months ago I pulled a muscle in my back that hurt for six weeks.  It happened when I bent over just a bit to pour water in our cat’s dish.  That was just a nuisance in the larger scheme of things, but it complicated everything from standing up to sitting down or even walking around.  Even small ailments can be very…

Fighting Our True Enemies as We Prepare for Christmas: Homily for the 27th Sunday After Pentecost & the 14th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Ephesians 6:10-17; Luke 18:35-43             We often fall into the trap of blaming other people for our problems.  That is true whether we are upset with someone in particular or with a group or organization.  It is tempting to think that if others would do what we want or at least leave us alone, then all would be well.  It does not take too much spiritual insight to see, however, that things…

The Nativity Fast as a Cure for Foolishness: Homily for the 25th Sunday after Pentecost and the 9th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Ephesians 4:1-7; Luke 12:16-21           We may have a hard time identifying with the rich man in the parable from today’s gospel lesson.  He had such an abundance of grain and other possessions that he did not have room to store them; he needed to build larger barns in order to hold all his wealth. Once he did that, he planned simply to relax and enjoy himself for…

To be Healed by the Good Samaritan: Homily for the 8th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Luke 10:25-37             It is tempting to use religion to help us feel better about ourselves. Too often, we want to make God in our own image and let ourselves off the hook from anything that challenges us to do something different from what we want to do. It can be very appealing to try to use God for purposes other than the healing of our souls. That is the attitude that…

What’s at Stake in How We Treat our Neighbors: Homily for the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost and the 5th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Ephesians 2:4-10; Luke 16:19-31   A few days ago, seven Coptic Christians were killed in Egypt as they were going on a pilgrimage to a monastery.  A week ago, eleven Jews were killed as they worshiped in a synagogue in Pittsburgh.  Houses of worship of whatever kind are increasingly targets for violence and vandalism.  Many of the perpetrators of such terrible deeds are motivated by distorted religious beliefs that lead them to…