In today’s epistle portion, St. Paul discusses the Christian’s relation to the state. His premise is that the source of civil government, indeed of all authority, is God, for He alone is sovereign. Therefore, St. Paul says, we are to be subject to these powers – but it is sometimes tricky.Continue reading “Reflections on the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany”
The 12th Ch of Romans from which our epistle readings have come over the Sundays after Epiphany is the chapter of the consecrated life of the Christian disciple and the law of love.
In our portion this morning, St. Paul says we are to enter into one another’s desires and aims – not to aim at a high place or honor for ourselves, but to be content with the humble duties that come our way.Continue reading “Reflections on the Third Sunday after Epiphany”
There are three great themes of Christ’s manifestation which are played out over the Epiphany season: the coming and worship of the Gentile Magi, the baptism of Jesus with the manifestation of the Holy Trinity, and the first sign at Cana in which water is turned to wine. Today we deal with the second, Jesus’ baptism, as recorded so succinctly in St. Mark’s Gospel.Continue reading “Reflections on the Second Sunday after Epiphany”
Proverbs 8 speaks of the Wisdom of God – the excellency, nature, power, riches and eternity of Wisdom. It is something to be desired above all else. And we know that the wisdom of God is generally opposed to what men call wisdom. St. Paul waxes eloquently about this in 1st Corinthians 1:19-25 and 2:6-10. How is this wisdom acquired? How do we enter into this wisdom? This is the theme of Romans 12…Continue reading “Reflections on the Sunday in the Octave of the Epiphany”
The word epiphany in Greek means manifestation or appearance. Originally the Greek-speaking Church of the Eastern Mediterranean celebrated both the Birth of Christ and the Manifestation on one and the same day, January 6, while the Western Church celebrated the Nativity or Christmass on December 25.Continue reading “Reflections on the Epiphany of Our Lord”
This Sunday falls in the middle of the 12 Days of Christmas, and nearly at the end of the secular year, and that ending is often a time of reflection on the past and a looking with hope to the future. With a slightly greater perspective, we might reflect on the state of religion in America. In just the past few decades, its face has changed rather radically. A recent article reported that “post-modernist” Americans, if they are looking for religion at all, want it on very individualistic terms.Continue reading “Reflections on the Sunday in the Octave of the Nativity of Our Lord”
The Son of God was incarnate for two primary purposes: first, to conquer death on our behalf and grant us an entrance into the kingdom of light, and to manifest & restore the image and likeness in which we were created through the great Atonement for sin.Continue reading “Reflections on the Nativity of Our Lord”
“Make straight the way of the Lord”
For us Orthodox, the spiritual work is almost entirely the inner work of the purification and illumination by God of our hearts. We make straight the way of the Lord within, that we may walk in it without. This infinite universe within us is not always easy to find, but by faith and discipline and perseverance, it will open to us. Our spiritual fathers and masters of prayer have taught us as much. Theology is a matter of prayer, not intellectual exercise:
“Seek the answer in God’s grace, not in doctrine; in the longing of the will, not in understanding; in the sighs of prayer, not in research; Seek the bridegroom, not the teacher.” BonaventureContinue reading “Reflections on the Fourth Sunday in Advent”
“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” 1 Corinthians 4
There is but one judgment which you and I are to make: that is to judge ourselves. And even that task is only possible by the narrow way.Continue reading “Reflections on the Third Sunday in Advent”
[I am indebted to Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon for many of the remarks on the Revelation to John from his new book Revelation – a Liturgical Prophecy]
In Advent we look to the first and second comings of our Lord simultaneously. We look at past and future to shape our present – to fashion our way of life.
Our daily office readings reflect this perspective, as we read Genesis to look at our distant past, I Kings to reflect on the later monarchical history of Israel, Mark’s Gospel to focus on our Lord’s first coming to us, and the Revelation to John which looks both at his present and ahead to the end of the ages. In our Gospel for today, Jesus points to the future in the sort of language we associate with the Revelation – apocalyptic – unveiling.Continue reading “Reflections on the Second Sunday in Advent”