On Taking up the Cross: Homily for the Sunday After the Elevation of the Cross and for the Commemoration of the Holy Great Martyr Euphemia in the Orthodox Church

  Saint Mark 8:34-9:1     Epistle to the Galatians 2:16-20               We think of the cross as the great symbol of our Christian faith.  We wear it around our necks and otherwise display it proudly. But during the first century it was nothing of the sort; it was a cruel instrument of execution used by the Romans to make a statement:  unfortunate people died long,…

“For God So Loved the World”: Homily for the Sunday Before the Exaltation of the Cross in the Orthodox Church

                                 If you go to a football game, you’ll see fans hold up signs, waving towels, and wearing the colors of their team.  And you might even see someone holding up a sign with a Bible verse, a sign that says, “John 3:16.”  That’s because this verse is such a clear summary of the very heart of…

Of Vineyards and Cornerstones: Homily for the Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost in the Orthodox Church

St. Matthew 21:33-42 1 Corinthians 16: 13-24             There probably are not many vineyards close to Abilene, but we can all still understand what Jesus Christ was talking about in today’s gospel reading.  A vineyard is a place where grapes are grown.  The Lord told a parable about a landowner who had workers take care of his vineyard.  When the grapes were ready, he wanted the fruit and sent servants to get…

Not in Praise of Single Motherhood: An Orthodox Christian Response to Katie Roiphe

              Only a small dose of common sense should be required to see that children tend to flourish when men and women rear them together through permanent family units sustained by marriage.  There are many examples of single, divorced, and widowed mothers—and fathers and other people—who struggle successfully to bring up children in other familial settings.  It’s no insult to them to point out the misguided nature of arguments that praise single…

The Mother of God and Forgiveness: Homily for the 11th Sunday After Pentecost and the Sunday After the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos

I Corinthians 9:2-12Matthew 18:23-35          Today we continue celebrating a great feast of the Church, the Feast of the Dormition of Mary the Thetokos    When we think of the Virgin Mary, we cannot help but marvel at the unique and glorious role that she plays in our salvation.  For the Son of God to humble Himself to the point of becoming a human being, He had to have a…