How to Accept an Invitation to a Great Wedding Feast: Homily for the 14th Sunday of Matthew and the 14th Sunday After Pentecost in the Orthodox Church

2 Corinthians 1:21-2:4; Matthew 22:2-14   It is entirely possible to view participation in the life of the Church as a burden, as just another obligation that we have to fulfill. When we think that way, just about everything else in life seems more appealing than worshiping God.  Of course, the more we neglect the spiritual life, the less interest we will have in it.   Before we know it, we can easily…

On Tending the Vineyards of our Lives: Homily for the 13th Sunday After Pentecost and the 13th Sunday of Matthew in the Orthodox Church

1 Corinthians 16:13-24; Matthew 21:33-42           I sometimes hear from my students that they think that Jesus Christ was a very nice person who never said anything harsh or critical about anyone.  Those who say that are certainly poor students, for the gospels make quite clear that our Lord spoke prophetic words of judgment to those who corrupted the faith of Israel in their quest for worldly power…

Humble Faith, Not Legalism: Homily for the 12th Sunday After Pentecost, the 12th Sunday of Matthew, and the After-Feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos

1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Matthew 19:16-26   A common temptation for religious people is to fall into a form of a legalistic self-righteousness.  It is appealing to assume that what God requires may be boiled down to a simple code of behavior such that those who obey it earn a reward, while those who do not merit condemnation.  People who are not religious may certainly have their own forms of legalistic self-righteousness, but…

Personal Transfiguration in Holiness: Homily for the 11th Sunday After Pentecost, the 11th Sunday of Matthew, and the After-Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ

1 Corinthians 9:2-12; Matthew 18:23-35   There is a lot going on the life of the Church this time of year.  Even as we continue to celebrate our Lord’s Transfiguration, we prepare by fasting to observe the Feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos during the coming week.  In order to enter into the good news proclaimed through these feasts, the eyes of our souls must be cleansed so that…

Staying Grounded on our True Foundation: Homily for “St. Timon Sunday” in the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America on the 9th Sunday After Pentecost and the 9th Sunday of Matthew in the Orthodox Church

1 Corinthians 3:9-17; Matthew 14:22-34           Many people today do not have a solid foundation for their lives.  We live in a time and place where it is very tempting to forget that there is more to life than getting what we want, on our own terms and when we want it. The problem, however, is that if we live simply to satisfy our own immediate desires, we…