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

Hebrews 11:24-26, 32-40; John 1:43-51   It is a common temptation to believe that religion is about subjective matters that have little to do with how we actually live in “the real world.” Many believe that, as long as a faith helps us to feel better about ourselves in light of our daily challenges, it has fulfilled its purpose.  Today we commemorate the Sunday of Orthodoxy and the restoration of the holy…

Transformed by Christ’s Mercy: Homily for Forgiveness Sunday (Cheese Fare Sunday) in the Orthodox Church

Romans 13:11-14:4; Matthew 6:14-21           Today we stand right on the edge of Great Lent, for the weeks of preparation to follow our Savior to His Passion begin tomorrow.  We have already been challenged to prepare with the Sundays of the Tax Collector and the Pharisee, the Prodigal Son, and the Last Judgment. Now it is the Sunday of Forgiveness, when we are reminded that we must forgive…

Fasting to Serve Christ in “The Least of These”: Homily for the Sunday of the Last Judgement (Meat Fare Sunday) in the Orthodox Church

1 Corinthians 8:8-9:2; Matthew 25:31-46          Today we continue to prepare to follow our Lord to His cross and empty tomb at Pascha.   Great Lent begins a week from tomorrow, and it is time for each of us to get ready to embrace the spiritual disciplines of the season in a way appropriate to our spiritual strength and life circumstances.  Since fasting from rich food and giving generously to the needy are…

Courageous Humility and Repentance: Homily for the Sunday of the Prodigal Son in the Orthodox Church

1 Corinthians 6:12-20; Luke 15:11-32             Last Sunday, we focused on the parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee.  You will remember that the Pharisee was so filled with pride that he prayed to himself in praise of his virtues as he condemned the tax collector, who was so aware of his sins that the only prayer he could muster was a humble plea for God’s…

Praying to God or to Ourselves?: Homily for the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee in the Orthodox Church

2 Timothy 3:10-15;   Luke 18:10-14           The most dangerous temptations are usually the most subtle ones.  Most people have the good sense to see that murder, for example, is obviously wrong and to avoid it.  But when we do not sense the danger of falling into evil at all, we are more likely to let down our guard.  That is usually when we are most susceptible to spiritual…