Don’t Be a Pharisee This Lent: Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican in the Orthodox Church

2 Timothy 3:10-15; Luke 18:10-14             There is no doubt that we live today in a celebrity culture in which we idolize people whose images are available to us through the various forms of mass media.  Whether through social media or simply in the imagination of our own minds, it is tempting today to see ourselves as people who should be celebrated and praised by others.  Of course, the more we think…

Preparing to Present Ourselves to Christ: Homily for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple in the Orthodox Church

Hebrews 7:7-17; Luke 2:22-40            Today we celebrate a great feast of the Church that speaks directly to the spiritual challenges that we all face on a daily basis.  For today we celebrate the Presentation of Christ, forty days after His birth, in the Temple in Jerusalem.  The Theotokos and St. Joseph bring the young Savior there in compliance with the Old Testament law, making the offering of…

Repent Like Zacchaeus: Homily for the Fifteenth Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

1 Timothy 4:9-15; Luke 19:1-10           In every time and place, there are people who take advantage of others.  When they align themselves with the rulers of a society and choose victims who have no power to resist, they usually get away with it.  Zacchaeus had done precisely that.  He was a Jew who collected taxes for the Roman Empire which occupied Palestine.  As a chief tax collector,…

Gratitude Gives Rise to Faith: Homily for the 29th Sunday After Pentecost & the 12th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Colossians 3:4-11; Luke 17:12-19      There is a lot of evidence that writing down five things for which you are grateful each day is good for your health, both mentally and physically.  Doing so is associated with lower rates of depression, anxiety, and pain and with a higher sense of well-being.  Perhaps that is because it is the very nature of the human person to be the recipient of God’s blessings. …

From the Darkness of Pride to the Light of Holiness: Homily for the Sunday After the Theophany (Epiphany) of Christ in the Orthodox Church

  Ephesians 4:7-13; Matthew 4:12-17           When we celebrated our Lord’s birth at Christmas, the humble and scandalous circumstances of His coming into the world became apparent. He was born in a cave to a family that lived under the oppression of Roman occupation.  They had to flee to Egypt at night as refugees in order to escape the murderous plot of a wicked king.  These circumstances reflect…