Putting on the Armor of Light for Lent: Homily for Forgiveness Sunday in the Orthodox Church

Romans 13:11-14:4; Matthew 6:14-21 There are some lines of work in which people who are on duty have to dress in distinctive ways.  The uniforms of police officers, firemen, and members of the military, for example, reflect their unique vocations, responsibilities, and authority.   Athletes, employees in many businesses, and some students must wear clothes that identify them in terms of the larger organization of which they are a part.  Whether we like…

Needy Neighbors and Strangers as Icons of Christ: Homily for the Sunday of the Last Judgment in the Orthodox Church

Matthew 25:31-46           It is easy to think that we have been successful in any endeavor before we are tested.  Students in college classes, for example, often think that they are doing just fine until they take the first examination.  Athletes may think that their team is the best until they lose the first game.  Cooks do not know how good a recipe is until someone actually eats…

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…