Fasting to Serve Christ in “The Least of These”: Homily for the Sunday of the Last Judgement (Meat Fare Sunday) in the Orthodox Church

1 Corinthians 8:8-9:2; Matthew 25:31-46          Today we continue to prepare to follow our Lord to His cross and empty tomb at Pascha.   Great Lent begins a week from tomorrow, and it is time for each of us to get ready to embrace the spiritual disciplines of the season in a way appropriate to our spiritual strength and life circumstances.  Since fasting from rich food and giving generously to the needy are…

Courageous Humility and Repentance: Homily for the Sunday of the Prodigal Son in the Orthodox Church

1 Corinthians 6:12-20; Luke 15:11-32             Last Sunday, we focused on the parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee.  You will remember that the Pharisee was so filled with pride that he prayed to himself in praise of his virtues as he condemned the tax collector, who was so aware of his sins that the only prayer he could muster was a humble plea for God’s…

Praying to God or to Ourselves?: Homily for the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee in the Orthodox Church

2 Timothy 3:10-15;   Luke 18:10-14           The most dangerous temptations are usually the most subtle ones.  Most people have the good sense to see that murder, for example, is obviously wrong and to avoid it.  But when we do not sense the danger of falling into evil at all, we are more likely to let down our guard.  That is usually when we are most susceptible to spiritual…

In Communion with Christ and One Another: Homily for the Leave-Taking of and the Sunday After Theophany (Epiphany) in the Orthodox Church

Ephesians 4:7-13; Matthew 4:12-17            It is certainly possible to have a letdown after the holiday season.  Though it has its own stresses, a time of year filled with parties, rich food, and visiting with loved ones appeals to most people, if only as a cultural observance. The same is surely true for those of us who celebrated the Savior’s birth at Christmas and His baptism at Theophany. …

Homily for the Synaxis of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John in the Orthodox Church

Acts 19:1-8; John 1:29-34             In one way or another, we all struggle with the temptation to be self-centered.  Even helping others can become primarily a way to draw attention to ourselves or to meet our own emotional needs.  Many view religion in this way, trying to use even God to help them get what they want.  That, of course, is simply a form of idolatry. Today we commemorate someone who completely…