Grounding Our Lives on the Mercy of Christ, Not the Praise of Others: Homily for the Thirty-first Sunday after Pentecost, the Fourteenth Sunday of Luke, and the Commemoration of Blessed Xenia of St. Petersburg, Fool-for-Christ, in the Orthodox Church

1 Timothy 1:15-17; Luke 18:35-43           Many of us give far too much attention to what other people think about us.  We want the approval of others and fall into resentment when their praise and appreciation are not forthcoming.  When that happens, the problem is not with how others view us, but that we have become captive to the passions of pride and vainglory, which can easily corrupt…

How to Cultivate Gratitude, Not Worry and Fear: Homily for the 12th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Luke 17:12-19           It is easy for people to fall prey to the passions of fear, worry, and anger in response to the great challenges that our nation and world face today, as well as to those we encounter in our families and in other areas of our lives.  In such circumstances, we must not ignore the importance of one of the most basic virtues necessary for human…

Manifesting the Peace of Christ in a World Still Enslaved to the Fear of Death: Homily for the Sunday After the Theophany of Christ in the Orthodox Church

Ephesians 4:7-13; Matthew 4:12-17           Today we continue to celebrate the great feast of Theophany, of Christ’s baptism when the voice of the Father identified Him as the Son of God and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove. Epiphany reveals that the Savior Who appears from the waters of the Jordan to illumine our world of darkness is the God-Man, a Person…

Preparation Requires Repentance: Homily for the Sunday Before the Theophany of Christ in the Orthodox Church

2 Timothy 4:5-8; Mark 1:1-8           Today is the Sunday before the Feast of Theophany (or Epiphany), when we will celebrate Christ’s baptism in the river Jordan and the revelation that He is truly the Son of God.  His divinity is made manifest and openly displayed at His baptism when the voice of the Father declares, “You are my beloved Son” and the Holy Spirit descends upon Him…

Learning from Joseph the Betrothed About Answering Unexpected Callings: Homily for the Sunday After the Nativity of Christ in the Orthodox Church

Christ is Born!  Glorify Him! Acts 6:8-7:5, 47-60; Matthew 2:13-23         As we continue to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world, we must resist the temptation to think that we have heard the story so many times that we no longer really have to pay attention.  Like the other great feasts of the Church, the Nativity provides us with an invitation each year to enter more…