Disney Princess Martyred for Christ

Sunday, December 4/17, 2017
28th Sunday After Pentecost

Colossians 1:12-18
Luke 17:12-19
Great-martyr Barbara and Martyr Juliana at Heliapolis in Syria (306)
Venerable John Damascene (760)

agia-barbaraIn the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever. What can a young child really do? What is a young boy or girl good for besides growing up into adulthood? Aren’t we adults the ones who run the church and isn’t their place merely to respect and obey instruction until the time comes when they are old enough to run things themselves? While I would agree with at least this assessment of the role of children in the church, I challenge us to see a deeper dimension of these to whom our Lord promised that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs. These same youths that the Apostle Paul enjoined in his letter to Timothy not to despise because of their youthfulness. Continue reading

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving

Hello dear friends and readers. I must confess a certain annoyance this time every year. While the voices to “keep Christ in Christmas” seem loud and insistent, everyone else seems content to celebrate our great American holiday of Thanksgiving any ‘ole way they please. I hear increasingly every year, the holiday reduced to its chief dish and simply called “Turkey Day”. While this at first seems endearing, it is quite alarming when I begin to hear people describe food as “something to die for.” Below is a reflection by my good friend and former Missions Professor, Fr. Luke Veronis, on the true spirit of Thanksgiving. Blessed feast to all. Happy Thanksgiving!

GIVING THANKS
Thanksgiving 2017
Lancaster, PA

78134-004-8587374eThere is a beautiful story about one of the greatest world leaders, Abraham Lincoln.  One day an elderly woman made an appointment to see the president.  When she entered his office, he welcomed her and asked, “How may I help you?” The woman responded in a quiet voice, “Mr. President, I know that you must be very busy.  I didn’t come to ask anything of you. I simply came because I heard that you liked certain cookies, and I decided to bake some for you.” After she gave them to her, she got up to leave.  However, she could see that there were tears in the president’s eyes. He smiled at her and said, “Madam, I thank you for your gift. I must tell you that during all the years of my presidency, many people have come into my office asking for favors and even demanding that I help them in various ways. But you are the very first and only person to come into my office and ask for nothing, but instead to bring me a gift of thanksgiving.  I thank you, and promise that I will never forget your act of love.” Continue reading

Great Physician, Prince of Peace

Sunday, November 6/19, 2017
24th Sunday After Pentecost

Ephesians 2:14-22
Luke 8:41-56
St. Paul the Confessor, Archbishop of Constantinople (305)

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever.

O come, O come, Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to Thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou King of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease
and be Thyself our King of Peace.
(O Come, O Come, Immanuel, trans. By John M. Neale)

Sad divisions, bleeding people, and loved ones crushed by the weight of sin and sudden death— These are all reasons that Immanuel came in the flesh and dwelt among us. And now as we near the quiet season of Advent when we await that coming, let us pause to consider two particular people in need: A woman bleeding for 12 years from an incurable illness and a ruler stripped of an only daughter, struck down in the prime of her life at 12 years old. Continue reading

The 12 Days of Christmas

flierWorking up another Boston Byzantine Concert with Charlie Marge. This time, it is local to our nation’s capital in Washington, DC. Though our family is currently living in Syracuse, NY, we are still members of the Boston Byzantine Choir, attending practices by means of live streaming. I LOVE the 21st century, in which you can still play a part in a choir separated from you by hundreds of miles. Hey, if you are local to DC, come and see us in a few weeks for a program highlighting the 12 days of Christmas, Orthodox (byzantine) style. I promise all you theology nerds out there will NOT be disappointed. And for those who cannot drop everything and rush to Washington in the second weekend in December, there is Good News! We will be cutting almost everything we sing on a new CD to be released sometime in the next year in honor of the choir’s 25th anniversary. Stay tuned…

Sub-Culture Vs. Real Culture

Saturday, October 15/28, 2017
Mother of God Who Ripens the Grain

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

The English word culture is rooted in the Latin word cultura meaning agriculture, tillage, or husbandry. But the modern English word has drifted far from this association with the earth into realms of plastic fabrication and surrogate substitution. Many contemporary Christians, for instance, without an authentic culture to under-gird their worthy spiritual aspirations, have created a whole sub-culture which seeks simply to borrow popular forms it finds in the world and substitute Christian lyrics/content into them. Such a recycling of pop culture often results in entertainment that is cheap and inauthentic. Continue reading

Love the Enemy Within

Homily October 2/15, 2017
Ss. Cyprian & Justina

II Corinthians 11:31-12:9
Luke 6:31-36

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Christ is among us; He is and ever shall be. Beloved in the Lord,

Paul-Thorn-in-my-FleshIn this morning’s Epistle and Gospel, we are given two very difficult questions to ponder. What should we do with unanswered prayer and how do we love even our enemies? St. Paul raises the first question in his second letter to the Corinthians when he insists that three times he asked the Lord to remove a thorn in his flesh and after only the third time did he receive his answer. What are we to make of this heavenly reluctance to respond? How many of us have had similar unanswered prayer and have felt almost like giving up asking? Continue reading

To Be An Apostle

Sunday, September 4/17, 2017
15th Sunday After Pentecost

2 Corinthians 4:6-15
Matthew 22:35-46
Holy Prophet and God-seer Moses (1531 B.C.)

00-natalya-klimova-right-believing-grand-prince-st-vladimir-equal-to-the-apostles-enlightener-of-all-the-russias-2012

Enlightener & Equal-to-the-Apostles Great Prince Vladimir

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever. Beloved in the Lord, What does it take to be an apostle or a missionary? Among the great epithets that our mother church assigns to her saints, I admit that “Enlightener and Equal-to-the-Apostles” has to be one of my favorites. From the epistle this morning, St. Apostle Paul reveals a little of his inner psychology so that we can know a bit of what it takes. But I ask again, what could bring a human being to such a state as he describes? Continue reading