Acknowledging Christ by Loving Our Enemies: Homily for the Sunday of All Saints in the Orthodox Church

Hebrews 11:33-12:2; Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38; 19:27-30              Some of us grew up in churches that gave as little attention as possible to the saints out of fear that honoring those who served our Lord so faithfully would somehow distract us from worshiping only Him.  Today’s reading from Hebrews makes exactly the opposite point, for the “great cloud of witnesses” inspires us to “lay aside every weight” and to “run with perseverance the…

More Powerful than Water, Wind, and Fire: Homily for the Great Feast of Pentecost in the Orthodox Church

Acts 2:1-11; John 7: 37-52; 8:12           On today’s great feast of Pentecost, we celebrate the Holy Spirit coming upon the followers of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, which is the birthday of His Body, the Church.  After the Savior’s resurrection, He ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to His disciples so that they would not be cut off from Him and the new life that…

Ascending with Christ into Heavenly, Not Earthly, Glory: Homily for the Sunday After the Ascension and Commemoration of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea 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…

Hope for Us Who Dwell in Darkness: Homily for the Sunday of the Blind Man in the Orthodox Church

Acts 16:16-34; John 9:1-38   Christ is Risen!              It is usually a good idea to follow the old saying, “Look before you leap.”  We can get into a lot of trouble by acting before we have a good understanding of our circumstances and of what is likely to come from our actions.  The blind man in today’s gospel reading, however, was in a very different situation.  Because of blindness, he could not…

The Light of the Christ Illumines Even Samaritans and Gentiles: Homily for the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman in the Orthodox Church

Acts 11:19-30; John 4:5-42 Christ is Risen! There is a lot of truth in the saying that familiarity breeds contempt.  It is possible for even the best things in life to become so familiar that we become blind to their true importance. We can do that even with our celebration of the Savior’s victory over death, as though the Paschal season were simply about singing joyful hymns and enjoying rich food.  It…