Reflections on the Western Rite Conference and Trinity 10

From my homily at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, in Lynchburg, VA on Sunday, August 12, 2018:

The Western Rite Conference at St. Peter’s in Fort Worth from which I just returned was the best I have ever attended.  St. Peter’s is one of our older Western Rite parishes, with beautiful facilities, a classical school and a remarkable ministry of hospitality.

Our Metropolitan in his addresses and homilies made it abundantly clear that his vision for the Western Rite is an enthusiastic one and he is desirous of the total incorporation of our parishes into the full life and unity of the Archdiocese.  It was a great blessing to personally meet him and to catch a glimpse of his heart through his talks and homilies.  Continue reading “Reflections on the Western Rite Conference and Trinity 10”

Reflections on the Tenth Sunday after Trinity

We’ve all heard of the pace-setting mega-churches, with coffee bars, food courts, gift shops, athletic programs, day care, auto repair and convenience banking, in buildings that look like shopping malls; with “worship” that consists of soft rock praise choruses, ‘special music’, videos, and upbeat, entertaining ‘messages’ that pander to the felt needs of those who have come. Continue reading “Reflections on the Tenth Sunday after Trinity”

Reflections on the Transfiguration

If you read the accounts of the Transfiguration in the three Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—you will see that it is prefaced by the scene at Caesarea Philippi in which Jesus asks His disciples the question, “Who do men say that I am?”  After the familiar words of St. Peter’s confession of faith, the Transfiguration is immediately prefaced by the words in St. Matthew: “Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste of death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”  Mark has it, “before they see the kingdom of God come with power,” and Luke, simply, “before they see the kingdom of God.”   Continue reading “Reflections on the Transfiguration”

Reflections on the Eighth Sunday after Trinity

“We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”

We, who have been baptized into the death and resurrection of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, owe nothing any longer to the flesh. 

The flesh, from the Greek, sarx, is synonymous in the Biblical and Patristic literature with the “world”, not the created cosmos, but the life of the passions – the world opposed to God. Continue reading “Reflections on the Eighth Sunday after Trinity”

Reflections on the Seventh Sunday after Trinity

“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Our Orthodox Faith commits us to an Apostolic and Patristic form of Christianity.  We are committed to Holy Scripture as the ultimate source of our authority for faith and life, and to the catholic consensus of the interpretation of the Scriptures of the Apostles the Fathers and the Bishops of the Church. Part of the Patristic mind has to do with the understanding of sin. For most modern Christians, sin is a matter of doing bad things, which creates a debt to God, and which somebody has to pay off.  They believe that Jesus paid the debt for our sins on the Cross – paid the Father, that is, so we would no longer bear the penalty.

The Fathers of the church have a rather different understanding of Christ’s saving work.  Continue reading “Reflections on the Seventh Sunday after Trinity”

Reflections on the Sixth Sunday after Trinity

BRETHREN:  So many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection… Continue reading “Reflections on the Sixth Sunday after Trinity”

Reflections on the Fifth Sunday after Trinity

As we examine our Gospel for this Sunday (St. Luke 5:1…), the first thing to meet us is the phrase: “the people pressed upon Jesus to hear the word of God.”

What has happened in Luke’s account up to this point?  Jesus has returned from His baptism and temptation in the wilderness to the region of Galilee, to Nazareth his old home.  He has made an astonishing statement in His hometown synagogue which caused his old neighbors to take offense: “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Continue reading “Reflections on the Fifth Sunday after Trinity”

Reflections on the Fourth Sunday after Trinity

I am often struck by how deeply imbedded in such a relatively short time the evangelical notion of the “Rapture” is in most protestant churches.  It is a dogma in most evangelical circles, even though it is, especially in Orthodox time, a very novel invention.  It basically states that believers (only “true” believers in some circles) will be snatched away from earth so as not to suffer during the Tribulation period which is variously defined as “pre-trib, post-trib, mid-trib, pre-wrath, mid-wrath,” etc. Continue reading “Reflections on the Fourth Sunday after Trinity”

Refelctions on the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

We commemorate three primary birthdays in the Christian year: Our Lord, Our Lady, and St. John the Baptist.  St. John the Forerunner stands in a unique place in salvation history: on the cusp.  For some 400 years, the voice of prophecy had been silent in Israel—since Malachi. Yet he had prophesied a coming messenger in the spirit and power of Elijah. Continue reading “Refelctions on the Nativity of St. John the Baptist”