We May All Find Our Place in the Living Family Tree of the Messiah: Homily for the First Day of the Forefeast of and Sunday Before the Nativity of Christ (The Genealogy) in the Orthodox Church

Hebrews 11:9-10, 32-40; Matthew 1:1-25           Today begins the forefeast of our Lord’s Nativity, the final period of preparation for the great feast of Christmas.  A few weeks ago, we celebrated the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple, which shows us what the entire season of Advent is about.  From now through December 25, we must refuse to be distracted from following her example of getting ready…

The Freedom to Embrace our Fulfillment as Persons in God’s Image and Likeness: Homily for the Sunday of the Forefathers (Ancestors) of Christ in the Orthodox Church

Colossians 3:4-11; Luke 14:16-24              Some of us remember an old song with the line: “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”  Perhaps that rings true for people who think that they are isolated individuals who have no higher goal in life than doing whatever they want to do.  It certainly does not ring true, however, for those who know that God gives us freedom as persons so that we…

Christ is Born to Restore the Beauty of the Souls of Distinctive Persons: Homily for Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia & the Tenth Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Luke 13:10-17           Several months ago, right before the beginning of Lent, I hurt my back.  With two herniated discs, it was often very painful to stand up or walk for several weeks.  I am feeling much better now, but still on the mend.  In the larger scheme of things, my experience with chronic discomfort is relatively mild, certainly nothing like that of the woman in today’s gospel…

Preparing to Welcome the God-Man for the Healing of our Souls in the Nativity Fast: Homily for the Thirteenth Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church

Luke 18:18-27              As we continue to prepare to welcome Christ at His Nativity on Christmas, we must keep squarely in mind Who He is and why He was born in the flesh.  Contrary to popular opinion, we are not getting ready to celebrate the birth of merely a religious teacher or a figure of cultural significance.  No, we celebrate the eternal Son of God, Who spoke the universe into existence, becoming…

Overcoming “the Dividing Wall of Hostility” as the Living Temple of God: Homily for the Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost, the Ninth Sunday of Luke, and the After-feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple in the Orthodox Church

Ephesians 2:14-22; Luke 12:16-21      Today we continue to celebrate the feast of the Entrance into the Temple of the Most Holy Theotokos. Her elderly parents Joachim and Anna offered Mary to God by taking her to live in the Temple in Jerusalem as a young girl, where she grew up in prayer and purity as she prepared to become the Living Temple of the Lord in a unique and extraordinary…