Homily - Love is Impossible Good Work
Release Date: 09/21/2020
In this (meandering!) meditation on Galatians 1:11-12, Fr. Anthony talks about how important it is that we develop an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ, informed by our parents, mentors, and spiritual fathers/mothers but not dependent on or mediated by them. Enjoy the show!info_outline COVID, Vaccines, Orthodoxy and Discernment in an Age of Deception
Join Fr. Anthony next to his back porch in Hartwell, Georgia, as he talks with scientist, theologian, professor, Associate Dean, and evangelist, Gayle Woloschak, PhD, DMin (Northwestern University) about COVID, vaccines, and discernment. This is a recording of Fr. Anthony's livestream from 10/24/2020.info_outline Live Not By Lies; a conversation on authenticity
In this recording of Fr. Anthony's livestream, he and Fr. Gregory Jensen talk about authenticity and Alexander Solzhenitsyn's (and Rod Dreher's) advice to "live not by lies." Enjoy the show!info_outline Homily: Feed the Light not the Darkness
In this homily on St Luke 10: 16-21 and Colossians 4:5-11, 14-18, Fr. Anthony reflects on what Christ's contrasting the power the disciples had over demons with their names being written in heaven might mean for us in this divisive time. He encourages us to use power with humility lest we actual feed the spirit of darkness within us and lose our place in the book of life.info_outline Talking Hesychasm with Carrie Frost, PhD
Join Fr. Anthony next to his back porch in Hartwell GA as he talks with Professor Carrie Frost, PhD about clericalism, ritual, and the risks and benefits of lay hesychasm. There were some audio problems with the YouTube livestream; our editor (Doug) made the best of it for the podcast version. Enjoy the show!info_outline Christianity, Anthropology, and Truth
Listen as Fr. Anthony talks with Sarah Riccardi-Swartz about truth, why our commitment to it has waned, and what Christians can and should be doing to bring balance and grace to our culture. Sarah is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Recovering Truth: Religion, Journalism, and Democracy in a Post-Truth Era project at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict (Arizona State University). Enjoy the show!info_outline Homily on the Absurdity of the Gospel
In St. Luke 5:1-11 Christ calls fisherman to be his disciples, in this homily Fr. Anthony reflects on how absurd it is that He didn't use angels or Greek philosophers to be his messengers and evangelists, going on to describe the implications for us as we evangelize and pastor our neighbors (and ourselves). Enjoy the show!info_outline On Transcendent Introspection and Loving our Enemies
This is a recording of Fr. Anthony Perkins' Livestream from 10 October 2020. In it, he continues the themes from his discussion with Fr. Gregory Jensen on transcendent introspection and a good test of our relationship with Christ (and complexity): can we love President Trump AND Antifa? Enjoy the show!info_outline Transcendent Introspection and the Authoritarian Personality
This is the recording of Fr. Anthony's livestream from 09 October 2020. In it, Fr. Anthony talks with Fr. Gregory Jensen, PhD, about the difference between isolation and solitude, how to cultivate transcendent introspection, the difference between pastoring and controlling, and the challenge of baptizing authoritarian tendencies. Enjoy the show!info_outline Homily - we cannot love commodities
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...info_outline
Sunday after the Exaltation of the Cross Galatians 2:16-20; Mark 8:34-9:1
(The Greatest Commandment) life has no meaning without a goal. Goals allow us to distinguish between what is useful and what isn’t; the right goal ensures that all our actions are virtuous.
This week restates this lesson. Listen closely:
And Jesus called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Mark 8: 34)
Do you see how this is just a restatement of the goal of “loving God and neighbor”?
The “self” that we must deny has to be properly understood or we will end up perverting the Scripture, pursuing the wrong goal, wasting our talent, and – as we are warned in today’s Gospel reading – losing our very soul/life. There are two main ways that the “denial of self” should be understood:
- The denial of the self as a sacrificial action.Why do you think that the Old Testament is full of sacrifice? In part, it is because doing something worthwhile requires giving up something else. If I am saving my money so that I can buy a new computer or go on a nice vacation, then there are things that I have to give up – to sacrifice – along the way. If I am going to follow God, that is to say, if I am going to love Him and love my neighbor the way He does, then that means giving up or “sacrificing” all the other goals that I might have pursued. This is only fitting and logical: when someone accepts a 9-5 job, they give up doing other things they might have done during that time. When a couple gets married, they give up both the single life and the possibility of marrying anyone else. When we commit ourselves to following Christ and serving our neighbor – the two Great Commandments – then we are sacrificing all the other things we might have done.
- The denial of self as commitment and hard work. When someone takes a job, they don’t just give up doing other things while they are at that job: they commit themselves to working hard to do that job well. When a couple gets married, they don’t just give up dating other people: they commit themselves to working hard to make their marriage joyful and productive. This takes constant effort; these people “deny themselves” to do their job well and to keep their marriages healthy. When we commit ourselves to following Christ and serving our neighbor, we aren’t just giving up all the other goals we could have committed ourselves to, we are dedicating ourselves to put real effort into living a life of love.
So why the big warning? Because today’s reading, like last week’s, comes with a big warning:
For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. (Mark 8: 35)
The bottom line is that you will waste and ruin your life if you pursue the wrong goals. Idolatry? Two masters? Temple? It’s all saying the same thing. Don’t waste your life. Live a life of virtue. Commit yourself to it, study how to do it well, and then work hard an sacrifice yourself for it. Parts of you will rebel – deny those parts. Other parts will enjoy it; this is the multiplication of your talents – take that joy and offer to God and share it with your neighbor … this is how you grow “into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21).
One of the ways that today’s reading can be misunderstood is to think that the “denial of self” means the denial of joy. Now I hope you see how ridiculous this is. Do not turn God into a monster: he is not trying to turn this world into a hell of misery but into a place where all his children have joyful life in abundance (John 10:10) – and He wants us to want and work for that, too.
The denial of self does NOT mean that we hate or neglect or selves; quite the opposite. This is made clear by the final verse we will cover in today’s homily;
For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul (life)? (Mark 8:36)
Love of self means doing what is good for the self; pursuit of the wrong goals brings destruction to our lives. That is not love, that is something else. You know people who have destroyed their lives through the pursuit of power, or of laziness and self-indulgence, or of the approval of the wrong people, or through drugs … this is what Jesus means when He warns that you can gain the world but lose your soul. People who have lived for the wrong goal may well “gain the whole world”, but all that effort has been counter-productive; it has not brought abounding joy, it has not brought joy to others.
So now that you understand this command of Our Lord, the challenge is to make it your primary motivation:
Deny yourself. Give up your life and live it for the Good News of salvation that is guaranteed to bring joy to you and to this world.