Putting on “The Whole Armor of God” in Order to be Set Free: Homily for the 27th Sunday After Pentecost and the 10th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Ephesians 6:10-17; Luke 13:10-17 There are times when we do as little possible in order to meet a requirement that is not very important to us.  There are other times when we do our very best because it really matters.  Some requirements can be checked off easily with little effort and do not change us in any significant way.  Those that require dedication from the depths of our souls, however, will transform…

His Light Illumines our Darkness as We Prepare for Christmas: Homily for the 26th Sunday After Pentecost and the 14th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Ephesians 5:8-19; Luke 18:35-43   It is not hard to find darkness in our world or in our own souls.  Sometimes we may feel as blind as the beggar in today’s gospel reading.  He knew all about darkness and was reduced to sitting by the side of the road and living on whatever people gave him.   His blindness defined his identity and shaped every aspect of his life.  We know his name…

Getting Ready for the Birth of a Merciful Savior, Not of Self-Righteous Legalism: Homily for the 25th Sunday After Pentecost and the 13th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Ephesians 4:1-7; Luke 18:18-27            In one way or another, many of us are tempted at times to reduce the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ to a list of rules to be obeyed simply by our own willpower.  When we think that we live up to them, we pat ourselves on the back for being good people who have supposedly earned God’s favor.  When we think…

Preparing to Welcome Christ Like the Theotokos by Entering into the Nativity Fast: Homily for the 24th Sunday After Pentecost and the 9th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Ephesians 2:14-22; Luke 12:16-21             It is now 36 days until Christmas, and there will soon be much in our culture trying to convince us that the season is really about indulging ourselves in food, drink, and whatever else money can buy.  Consequently, we will all face temptations to live the next several weeks as though there were no higher purpose to our lives than to find pleasure…

“Go and Do Likewise” as Our Response to Evil: Homily for the 8th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

2 Corinthians 9:6-11; Luke 10:25-37             In a world of mass shootings, terrorism, and constant strife between nations and competing groups of all kinds, it is tempting to narrow down the list of people we care about.  By limiting our concern only to those we think deserve it, we try to protect ourselves from going beyond the easy habit of loving only those who are like us and love us in return. …