Homily for the Nativity of the Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John in the Orthodox Church

          Today we celebrate the birthday of one of the most unusual and important people in the history of our faith:  St. John the Baptist.  He has the titles of prophet, forerunner, and baptist because he fulfilled all three roles, speaking the word of the Lord as he prepared the way for the coming of Christ, calling God’s people to repentance and baptism, and even baptizing the incarnate…

Idolatry Leads to Anxiety: Homily for the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost and the 3rd Sunday of Matthew in the Orthodox Church

Romans 5:1-10; Matthew 6:22-33 Ours is an age of anxiety.  Many people are overcome with worry about matters large and small.  Some certainly do need the help of physicians and psychological counselors in order to cope with their fears.  The sickness of our souls remains, however, at the very heart of all our collective and personal brokenness.  If our souls are not healthy, we will never find the peace that truly satisfies…

Everyday Holiness: Homily for the Sunday of All Saints in the Orthodox Church

Hebrews 11:33-12:2; Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38; 19:27-30               If you are like me, sometimes when you read the lives of the saints you shake your head and think, “I could never do anything like that.” Many endured horrible tortures to the point of death because they refused to deny Christ.  Others denied themselves food, clothing, and shelter in ways that seem beyond the strength of human beings.  Some accepted insult and abuse…

Unity Through Wind, Flame, and Language: Homily for the Great Feast of Pentecost in the Orthodox Church

            Acts 2:1-11; John 7:37-52; 8:12           On today’s great feast of Pentecost, we celebrate the Holy Spirit coming upon the followers of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, which is the birthday of His Body, the Church.  After the Savior’s resurrection, He ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to His disciples so that they would not be cut off from Him and…

Ascending in Holiness Through the Body of Christ: Homily for the Sunday of the After-Feast of the Ascension and the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council

Acts 20:16-18, 28-36; John 17:1-13                      We are now in the season of the Ascension in the Orthodox Church, when we celebrate our Lord’s ascent into heaven forty days after His resurrection.  It is easy for us to pass over this feast without paying much attention because it comes between Pascha and Pentecost.  The danger of doing so, however, is that if we…