Choose Repentance Instead of Shame: Homily for the Sunday of the Prodigal Son in the Orthodox Church

  Luke 15:11-32           We have all had the experience of being ashamed of ourselves.  We had done, said, or thought something which probably seemed fine to us at the time, but which we later realized was simply terrible.  Sometimes when that happens, we catch a glimpse of truth about ourselves that is hard to bear.  Sometimes when that happens, we are paralyzed by shame, by a prideful…

Cultivating Humility: Homily for the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican in the Orthodox Church

Luke 18: 10-14          There are some problems that have to be identified clearly and addressed plainly because they are so important, so foundational to our life in Christ.  There are some temptations so subtle, persistent, and dangerous that we must always be on full alert against them because they have the power to destroy our souls.  Today we call ourselves to that kind of vigilance against pride, which…

How Strangers and Foreigners Become God’s Holy Temple: Homily for the Sunday of the Canaanite Woman in the Orthodox Church

2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1; Matthew 15:21-28           It is easy to fall into the trap of looking only at the surface of the challenges that we face in life.  Instead of getting to the heart of the matter, we often accept simplistic answers about ourselves, others, and even God.  One of those false answers that Jesus Christ corrected was that only people of a certain ethnic and religious heritage…

Two Paths to the Kingdom: Homily on Zacchaeus and the Apostle Timothy in the Orthodox Church

1 Timothy 4:9-15; Luke 19:1-10           One of the worst mistakes that we can make in life is to insist that everyone be just the same.  Part of the beauty of the human being is the distinctiveness of our personalities, our interests, and our abilities.  We see that in our families, in our friendships, in our work, and in the Church, where the different members of the Body…

What We Can Learn from Two Ascetics and One Grateful Samaritan: Homily on St. Paul of Thebes and St. John the Hut-Dweller for the 29th Sunday After Pentecost and the 12th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Colossians 3:4-11; Luke 17:12-19             You can learn a lot about a person by asking them who their heroes are.  The people we admire tell us a lot about what we value, what we hope for, and who we want to become in the course of our lives.  The Church canonizes Saints who are shining examples of faithfulness to Jesus Christ, who show in their own lives what it means for a…