Preparing for Lent in a Time of War: Homily for Sunday of the Last Judgment (Meat Fare) in the Orthodox Church

            1 Corinthians 8:8-9:2; Matthew 25:31-46             On this Sunday of the Last Judgment, the Church calls us to see the ultimate meaning and purpose of our lives before God.  As we begin the last week before Great Lent, the Savior reminds us in today’s gospel reading that the path to eternal life runs through our neighbors, especially those we are inclined to overlook, disregard, and even despise.  How we treat the…

It is Time to Leave the Pig Pen and Return Home to the Father: Homily for the Sunday of the Prodigal Son in the Orthodox Church

1 Corinthians 6:12-20; Luke 15:11-32           As we continue our preparation to follow Christ to His Cross and empty tomb during Lent, the Parable of the Prodigal Son reminds us today of the nature of true repentance.  This story shows who God is and who we are as His beloved children, even though we have made ourselves and others miserable due to serving our own self-centered and foolish…

How to Pray Like the Publican, Not the Pharisee, This Lent: Homily for the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican in the Orthodox Church

2 Timothy 3:10-15; Luke 18:10-14             Today we begin the Lenten Triodion, the three-week period of preparation for Great Lent.  As we get ready to embark upon the year’s most intense season of prayer, fasting, and repentance, the Church reminds us today to be on guard against the subtle temptations that people who conscientiously embrace religious disciplines typically face.  This warning is extremely important because spiritual pride threatens to destroy the virtue…

Holiness is Open to All Through our Great High Priest: Homily for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost & Seventeenth Sunday of Matthew in the Orthodox Church

2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1; Matthew 15:21-28           If we are not careful, we can easily limit the calling to become holy to certain types of people or to certain places.  Without even thinking about it, we have assumptions about what people who are well pleasing to God are like.  We may envision them as being like us in ways that have little to do with true righteousness.  It is…

Repentance in Response to Great Mercy: Homily for the Sunday of the Three Great Hierarchs and the Fifteenth Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Luke 19:1-10           The Church draws our attention today to how some very different people responded to the mercy of Jesus Christ.  On the one hand, we commemorate the Three Holy Hierarchs, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom.  These exemplary bishops, teachers, and ascetics are shining examples of faithfulness to the Lord.  They influenced the Church’s doctrine, spirituality, worship, and mission to the world in…