loader from loading.io

Homily - we cannot love commodities

OrthoAnalytika

Release Date: 10/04/2020

Homily - Building a Good Marriage - and Parish! show art Homily - Building a Good Marriage - and Parish!

OrthoAnalytika

Homily on Luke 5:1-11. Introduction: How Christ Builds the Church This is a beautiful story from the ministry of Jesus Christ. It comes on the heels of his Baptism, his temptation by the devil in the wilderness, and the beginning of his preaching ministry in the synagogues of Galilee. In this Gospel, Christ has started building something very special; something that would never fall; something that would bring healing to broken humanity; something through which He would change the world. He began building the Church. And He did it with simple fishermen on the side of a lake. Continuation: We...

info_outline
Homily - It's All Good (a Dionysian meditation)  show art Homily - It's All Good (a Dionysian meditation)

OrthoAnalytika

2 Corinthians 4: 6-15; St. Matthew 22: 35-46. We have power, but lack discernment.  Seeing things clearly cannot be achieved through even the most objective scientific analysis.  The problem is found in the etymology of the very word "objective".  When we objectify things, we remove them from their context and connections.  While this allows us to manipulate them according to our pleasure, it cannot help but contribute to the world's groaning.  The context is the Logos and it connects and sustains all things.  Knowing this allows us to experience the world as it...

info_outline
Teaching Liturgy - 20210927 show art Teaching Liturgy - 20210927

OrthoAnalytika

On 9/26/2021, I paused at various points during the Divine Liturgy to offer a meditation on that section of it. You can read my notes for this at

info_outline
Sex Talk II - Marital Intimacy and the Priesthood show art Sex Talk II - Marital Intimacy and the Priesthood

OrthoAnalytika

Fr. Gregory Jensen PhD and Fr. Anthony begin by talking about three (no four!) indicators of whether a man is a suitable candidate for seminary, then segue into the importance of a healthy marriage and family life (e.g. 1 Timothy 3).  They use the Ecumenical Patriarchate's "For the Life of the World; Toward a Social Ethos of the Orthodox Church" as a springboard for talking about contraception, ascetic abstinence, and the benefit of a healthy monastic witnesses.  Recorded on 8/17/2021.  Enjoy the show!

info_outline
Homily - Don't Ignore the Owner! show art Homily - Don't Ignore the Owner!

OrthoAnalytika

1 Corinthians 16: 13-24; St. Matthew 21: 33-42. In today’s Gospel, Christ is trying to help His listeners understand who He was, who sent Him, and why it was that the religious leaders rejected Him. As Christians, we grow up understanding that Christ is “God the Son”, the second person of the Holy Trinity; that God the Father, the first person of the Holy Trinity, sent His Son to return the world to righteousness; and that the Jewish leaders rejected His Son because He did not fit into their plans. We know this to be true, and it is true. But our acceptance of these facts is facilitated...

info_outline
Orthodoxy and Sex I show art Orthodoxy and Sex I

OrthoAnalytika

Fr. Gregory Jensen, PhD and Fr. Anthony Perkins talk about Orthodox sexuality, chastity, celibacy, and abstinence.  Along the way they also discuss the negative effects the culture wars have had on Orthodoxy and pastoral care.  They hope to make this part of a series.  Warning: it's hard to talk about this euphemistically.  Some graphic terms were used. Enjoy the show!

info_outline
Homily - What must I do (to thread the needle)? show art Homily - What must I do (to thread the needle)?

OrthoAnalytika

Matthew 19:16-26 The quotes: If thou hadst ever had an absurd desire to fly and to be borne through the air, how wouldest thou extinguish this unreasonable desire? By fashioning wings, and preparing other instruments, or by convincing the mind that it is desiring things impossible, and that one should attempt none of these things? () Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.  (St. Matthew 19:29) For God so loved the world, that...

info_outline
Homily: Patterning Virtue through Liturgy show art Homily: Patterning Virtue through Liturgy

OrthoAnalytika

1 Corinthians 9:2-12; Matthew 18:23-35.  Fr. Anthony contrasts the way of the world with the Way of Christ, compares the wicked lender with the Passion-bearer Gleb, and encourages us to nurture the Logos within through Liturgy and prayer.  Enjoy the show!

info_outline
Homily - Second Anniversary in Waynesville NC show art Homily - Second Anniversary in Waynesville NC

OrthoAnalytika

Fr. Anthony reminds the faithful at Holy Resurrection (Waynesville NC) or who they are, what they have been through, and what they are about.  Unity.  Enjoy the show!

info_outline
Homily - A Meandering Mess of  Homily on Something or Other show art Homily - A Meandering Mess of Homily on Something or Other

OrthoAnalytika

1 Corinthians 3:9-17; Matthew 14:22-34.   Here's the text of the homily I was going to give.  Instead of it, I preached on what "the day" has declared in our lives over the last couple of years.  It was partially prompted by recent events in Afghanistan (I worked the Afghanistan situation for several years as an intelligence analyst). +++ Homily – Building a House of GodThe Ninth Sunday after Pentecost 1 Corinthians 3: 9-17; St. Matthew 14: 22-34 A building set on a firm foundation, made well and of the best materials is both more durable and more suiting than one thrown...

info_outline
 
More Episodes

In this homily on St. Luke 6:31-36, Fr. Anthony develops the idea that that our inability to love well is a result of the way we objectify and commodify things, our neighbor, and the Church. Enjoy the show!

Homily: Loving vs. Commodifying (St. Luke 6:31-36)

Introduction: missing the point

It is hard for us to live the way we should.  From our time in Eden to now, we have failed, and the consequences to our hearts, our families, and our world have been disastrous.

One of our challenges is that we do not see things as they really are.  We do not see their beauty and we do not see how things are connected.  Even for things that are ugly and hard, we do not see the potential for beauty and the potential for blessings.  Instead of seeing things in their full splendor, we evaluate them based on what they mean for us; what we can get from them.  

We were designed to bring out the best in everything and everyone; to heal those that are hurt and to build up those who are already well towards perfection.  But instead of this, we just want to know what we can use things for and what we can get out of people.  We are like a hungry man in the middle of a feast who insists on eating his seed corn.  It’s destructive and we need to change.

Adam and Eve: Commodifying what they were meant to love

I mentioned Adam and Eve.  Think of how they fell.  One of the ways to understand this (from St. Nikolai Velimirovich) is that they turned the thing they were meant to tend – the garden – into a commodity; from something that deserved respect and the greatest of care to something that was useful primarily as food.  Even the thing God told them not to eat became a commodity to them: they wanted what it offered.  And remember what they learned?  That it “tasted good.”  What a loss.

 

Hear me well:  Adam and Eve were meant to eat the things that grew in the garden, but the availability of food was really just a side-effect (a “positive externality”) of being a good steward.  They got it all wrong when they put what they wanted from the garden before their love for it.  Instead of tending the garden, they tended to themselves.  They forgot about beauty; they forgot about connectedness; they forgot about service.

And We Commodity EVERYTHING!

We are so much worse than they were; our commodification of people and things in this world knows no end.  We are always looking for an angle; looking for the best deal.

Again, don’t mishear me: being frugal is part of being a good steward of our resources, but we are missing a side-effect for the main point.  Men should not love their wives because they hope for something in return, they should love their wives because they want to help nurture them to perfection (but I am not speaking of marriage but of the Church).  Christ does not love us because He wants something from us.  He does not sacrifice Himself for us in hopes of getting help with His plan to restore beauty to this world.  As we become perfect as God is perfect, we will help Him with this plan; but He sacrifices Himself for us because He sees the potential beauty within us and wants it to grow.  He does it because He loves us.  

We have to stop looking at one another as things to be used, things that either bring us pleasure or pain.  We have to see one another the way God sees us.  

More on Blindness: Commodification leads to a lack of proportion

Surely one of the ways we have cursed ourselves with our blindness is that we cannot see the beauty that emanates from all of God’s creatures; the blessings present in every moment.

Why is this so hard?  Why are we unable to enjoy the fruits of God’s love for us?  Why don’t we see things the way they are?  This blindness really is a curse; it pulls us further away from our purpose and robs us of the joy we were meant to have.

There are so many examples in our lives where we are blind to miracles.  Yes, the problems are there, but they are so minor compared to the miracles!

Let me give you one example that is so big it cannot help but make this point.  It is the example of the Church.

So much of what we do here in Church has been commoditized.  For some, our actions become part of our political protest against over-reaching authorities.  For others, our rituals become a magnet for our fear of disease or distrust of the other.  Even in normal times church can become less a place to experience the transcending and saving grace of God and more a place to give and receive judgment.

Are we really so blind to God’s wonders?  Have we no sense of proportion?

God works in this place, it is His very Body and Blood that are offered here – do we understand the magnitude of this miracle?  If we focus on the way it is offered – beyond the basic need to protect our health and the dignity of the act - then we have to admit that we do not.  Complaining about this is somewhat like the man who is dying of poison complaining to the doctor because the cup containing the necessary antidote to the poison is blue instead of green.  Have we lost our minds?  Again, do not mishear me; we have to be careful and safe – but we cannot allow this to distract us from celebrating being part of such a wonderful miracle.

Similarly, some people complain about Confession, saying things like; “why do I have to go to the priest for confession?”  Here God has given us a way to rid our hearts of the sin that has accumulated in and polluted them, and we complain about the way He has told us to do it.  Seriously?

Complaints about the role of bishops, the all-male priesthood, the traditional view of marriage, -  everything about the way we do things that we do not like threatens to turn the celebration of God with Us into a series of political or ideological positions that can be analyzed and judged … I do this all the time; I suspect some of you do, too.

We have turned even the Church, the vessel of everything good and true, into a commodity, something to be judged, to be measured, to be evaluated like some product on a grocer’s shelf.

Is it any wonder that we do the same thing with our spouses, our children…our enemies?

 

Conclusion:  Love without reservation

My point is not that the things that attract our attention in this way are not important or that they should not be discussed.  Going back to the example of the garden, food is important.  If we don’t eat, we die.  If we prepare food incorrectly, we die.  But Christ reminds us;

“Do not be anxious about what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.” (paraphrase of Matthew 6:25).

God is right here with us, working miracles in our midst, and we miss them by focusing on His height (“Oh, is that Jesus; I imagined he’d be taller.”)

Let’s not get distracted.  Let’s love without reservation.  Let’s love without expecting anything in return.  

Let me repeat the irony; if we tend this world – this garden - in love, we will receive what we need – the necessary commodities, if you will, in return.  As the Lord says in almost the next breath, if you really love, if you really give of yourself without reservation, then “it shall be given unto you in return; a good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over…” (St. Luke 6:38). 

And again in St. Matthew (paraphrase of 6:33-34); “seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all the things you need will be given to you as well.”

Let’s open our eyes and our hearts to the beauty in this world; the beauty in our neighbor; and the beauty in the Church.