Embracing the Struggle for Faithfulness: Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Great Lent and the Veneration of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross in the Orthodox Church

Hebrews 4:14-5:6; Mark 8:34-9:1            Today we venerate the precious and life-giving Cross upon which Jesus Christ offered Himself for the salvation of the world.  By entering into death through the Cross and rising in glory on the third day, He has enabled us to become participants by grace in His eternal life.  To honor the Lord’s Cross requires much more than simply conducting a religious service on a particular day.  It requires…

It Takes a Person to Overcome Paralysis: Homily for the Second Sunday of Great Lent and the Forefeast of the Annunciation in the Orthodox Church

Hebrews 1:10-2:3; Mark 2:1-12           Even as we continue our Lenten journey, we prepare to celebrate tomorrow the Feast of the Annunciation, which commemorates the Archangel Gabriel’s announcement to the Virgin Mary that God had called her to become the Theotokos, the Mother of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ.  When she said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your…

Embodied Holiness: Homily for the First Sunday of Great Lent (The Sunday of Orthodoxy) in the Orthodox Church

Hebrews 11:24-26, 32-40; John 1:43-51   Some people think that the point of religion is to strengthen families and societies by giving people a motive to be moral.   They want to put the fear of God in us so that we will do the right thing and make the world a better place.  As laudable as those goals are, they are not why our Lord died on the Cross and rose on…

Wearing “The Armor of Light” Requires Forgiveness: Homily for the Sunday of Forgiveness (Cheesefare) in the Orthodox Church

Romans 13:11-14:4; Matthew 6:14-21            When the prodigal son returned home, he was surely filthy, malnourished, and at least half-naked.   The father restored him to the family by clothing him with a robe, a ring, and sandals, and then celebrated his return with a great banquet.  As we prepare to begin the Lenten journey tomorrow, we recall today how Adam and Eve stripped themselves naked of the divine…

How We Treat Others Shows the Health of our Souls: Homily for the Sunday of the Last Judgment in the Orthodox Church

1 Corinthians 8:8-9:2; Matthew 25:31-46           We live in a time when it is tempting to make everything about us.  Even as we have the liberty to think, speak, and spend our money according to our desires, we are free to approach religion in the same way. Unfortunately, we are often so consumed with getting what we want for ourselves that we distort the Christian life into a…