The Great Strength of Confessing Our Weak Faith: Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church

Hebrews 6:13-20; Mark 9:17-31             “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”  These words from the brokenhearted father in today’s gospel lesson resonate with all of us who are honest about what the deep challenges of our lives reveal about our spiritual state.  As the man knelt before the Lord and struggled to believe that He could deliver the boy from his life-threatening condition, he revealed the true condition of his soul.  He…

The Cross Serves No Earthly Goal: Homily for the Third Sunday of Great Lent (Veneration of the Cross) in the Orthodox Church

Hebrews 4:14-5:6; Mark 8:34-9:1              In many different ways, we have all become experts at ignoring the obvious.  In many aspects of our lives, we tend to focus on unimportant matters and pay little attention to what really counts. Likewise, we are inclined to misinterpret our Lord’s teaching in ways that protect our preconceived notions and selfish desires from criticism, even to the point of making us think that we are serving…

Becoming Holy Even as We Live in the World: Homily for the Second Sunday of Great Lent and Commemoration of Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica, in the Orthodox Church

Hebrews 1:10-2:3; Mark 2:1-12                        It can be tempting to think that not much can be expected spiritually of people like us who live in the world with our families, occupations, and mundane responsibilities. God calls some to become monks and nuns, whose prayers and examples strengthen us all.  No less than them, however, the Lord calls each of us to find…

Practical Iconoclasm and Embodied 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            On this first Sunday of Great Lent, we commemorate the restoration of icons centuries ago in the Byzantine Empire.  They were banned due to a misguided fear of idolatry, but restored as a proclamation of how Christ calls us to participate in His salvation in every dimension of our existence.  The icons convey the incarnation of the God-Man.  He had to have…

Returning to Paradise Through Humility: Homily for the Sunday of Forgiveness in the Orthodox Church

Romans 13:11-14:4; Matthew 6:14-21             As we prepare to follow our Lord to His Cross and empty tomb in Great Lent, we must learn to see ourselves in Adam and Eve, who stripped themselves naked of the divine glory and were cast out of Paradise.  They entered into an existence so tragically enslaved to the fear of death that their son Cain murdered his brother Abel.  The needless bloodshed characteristic of this…