The Danger of Justifying Ourselves by Narrowing Down our Neighbors: Homily for the 21st Sunday After Pentecost and the 8th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Galatians 2:16-20; Luke 10:25-37             It is sobering how easily we can corrupt any good thing, including faith in Jesus Christ.    Some people fall into the delusion of thinking that they love God and neighbor, when in reality they serve only themselves.  One symptom of doing so is to narrow down the kind of people who count as our neighbors such that we excuse ourselves from seeing and serving Christ in all…

Humble Acknowledgement of Our Weakness Opens Us to Christ’s Healing Strength: Homily for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost and the 7th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

2 Corinthians 11:31-12:9; Luke 8:41-56   In today’s gospel reading, Jairus and his wife were put to the ultimate test when Jesus Christ said of their daughter, “Do not fear; only believe, and she shall be well…[and]  “Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.”  We do not know exactly what Jairus had believed about the Lord previously other than that he knelt before Him and asked Him to come…

The Martyrdom of Not Defining Ourselves by Our Passions and Sins: Homily for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost and the Sixth Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

2 Corinthians 9:6-11; Luke 8:26-39              A great deal is at stake in how we understand ourselves.  How others see us is up to them, but the self-definitions that we accept will shape us all profoundly.  If we identify ourselves in ways that obscure what it means to be a human person in God’s image and likeness, our spiritual vision will be out of focus.  But if our eyes are opened to…

Mindfulness Bears Fruit: Homily for the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council and the Fourth Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Titus 3:8-15; Luke 8:5-15           We live in an age of distraction with instant access to whatever entertainment we prefer.  Our attention spans have become short because we are used to quick and superficial encounters with sources of information and with other people.  We often use technology in a way that is simply a waste of our time, energy, and attention. Our habits are very different from those…

How the Worst Day of a Widow’s Life Became “The Day of Salvation”: Homily for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost and the Third Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

2 Corinthians 6:1-10; Luke 7:11-16           The widow of Nain certainly had no expectation that the day of her son’s death was “the day of salvation.”  It was surely been the worst day of her life, for in that time and place a widow who had lost her only son was in a terrible state.  She would have had no one to provide for her or to protect…