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

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

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

The Foolishness of Preaching

Preached my first sermon yesterday as a Deacon at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Allston, MA. So pleased that the text for the day is the same one a friend of mine used to preach the best sermon I have ever heard. Memory eternal to Don Connors, preacher to the elderly and friend of lost souls.

Sunday, July 17/30, 2017
Eighth Sunday After Pentecost
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Matthew 14:14-22

areopagusIn 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,

You will not remember the words I preach to you today. You will not remember them any more than the senior citizens remembered these words from St. Paul when they were preached to them in a nursing home by a man who preached the best sermon I have ever heard. And what was his text? It was the same as it is for us this morning- the foolishness of preaching. For his question to that elderly audience is the same one I ask of you this morning. What good is it for me to stand here before you and preach a message that will so soon be forgotten? After all, as St. Paul says, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…” and later in the same chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, he calls his own preaching foolishness. Continue reading

Agents of Reconciliation

I am re-posting this excellent article from my boss, The Rev. Todd Miller, Rector of Trinity Parish in Newton Centre. It is based on a sermon he preached shortly after the Presidential Election of 2016, after which so many were struck with fear over the possible uprising of old hatreds.

st-peter-and-st-paul-2In the Episcopal Church’s Catechism, the stated mission of the Church “is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ (The Book of Common Prayer, p 855).  In Eucharistic Prayer A – the form of the Eucharistic prayers used most often at Trinity – we give thanks to God that God “sent Jesus Christ… to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all” (BCP, p 362).

Our Christian faith is about “restoring all people to unity with God and each other in Christ;” we Christians, following the example of Jesus, are called to be agents of reconciliation.  Our country, sharply divided over the recent election and in transition to a new administration, is counting on us Christians to live into our identity and to be agents of reconciliation. Continue reading

Honest Doubt that Leads to Deeper Faith

Thomas Sunday, April 19, 2015
Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church
Webster, MA by Fr. Luke Veronis

Re-posted here with permission. I love Fr. Luke’s distinctions of the various kinds of doubt.

thomas-sunday-largeChristos Anesti! Christ is Risen! As Orthodox Christians, we not only proclaim this fact, but emphasize that Christ’s Resurrection is the very cornerstone of Christianity. Our faith isn’t first and foremost about “Do’s and Don’ts,” about some moralistic standards. No, our faith is first and foremost about Christ victoriously rising from the dead, and destroying death itself! We’re talking about the ultimate victory of good over evil, of life over death, of Christ over Satan.

St. Paul put it most bluntly, when he states that if the resurrection isn’t true, then our faith is meaningless. If the resurrection is a fairy tale, then we Christians are the greatest fools of all, because we believe in a lie. If Christ is not risen, then we are all dead in our sins. The Apostle Paul goes on to say, if Christ is not risen, then instead of trying to live a disciplined, Christ-centered life of love, we should just eat, drink and be happy.  Just enjoy the moment and the day, for there is nothing after death! Continue reading