Homily - A Meandering Mess of Homily on Something or Other
Release Date: 08/23/2021
Homily – Prejudice, Objectivity, and Grit St. Matthew 15.21-28 Gospel: Then Jesus left and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried; “have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; for my daughter is severely possessed by a devil.” But Jesus did not answer her at all. So his disciples came and pleaded; “send her away, for she is crying after us.” Jesus replied; “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then she came and knelt before him saying; “Lord, help me.” And Jesus answered; “it...info_outline Bible Study – Job 2:16-7:14
Bible Study – Job Class Five: Job 2:16-7:14The trial of ideas begins.info_outline Homily - Spiritual Investing?
Homily on the Talents Main point: What do we with the riches God has given us? Multiply them! How? By investing all those riches in spiritual activities that provide a strong return on investment and having enough self-discipline not to waste them on activities that cause spiritual harm. There are many kinds of riches that the Bible and Tradition teach about; today we’ll talk about spiritual and monetary riches. How to Get a Good Return on Spiritual Riches • Baptized Christians have all received riches (the grace of Baptism – a life in Christ!): what do we do...info_outline FSAW - Falling Short of the Glory of God
In this episode of "Father, Speak a Word," Fr. Gregory Jensen, PhD and Fr. Anthony talk about why we should celebrate our shortcomings (as we repent of our sin). The conversation is based on Fr. Gregory's substack article "." [The audio has been corrected.]info_outline Bible Study – Job 1:13-2:15
Bible Study – Job Class Four: Job 1:13 – 2:15 From the Orthodox Study Bible. Job Loses His Children and Property 13. Now there was a day when Job’s sons and daughters were drinking wine in the house of their elder brother, 14. and behold, a messenger came to Job and said, “The yokes of oxen were plowing, and the female donkeys were feeding beside them. 15. Then raiders came and took them captive and killed the servants with the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” 16. While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said to Job, “Fire fell...info_outline Homily - What is a Home?
Homily Notes on Zacchaeus Sunday: What makes a home? Walk in – can you tell (that a place is a home)? The feeling? · Feelings and intuition are unreliable; generally, they are the way the subconscious mind puts together other indicators · But to the sense our feelings are reliable, some places are haunted by memories of being home “The clutter?” There is something to this. · Imperfect indicator (museums have lots of stuff… & I hear there are homes with no...info_outline Bible Study - Job 2:6-12 [
Bible Study – Job Class Two: Job 1: 6-12 From the Orthodox Study Bible. Satan is Permitted to Test Job 6. Then as it so happened one day that behold, the angels of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and the devil also came with them. 7. The Lord said to the devil, “Where did you come from?” So the devil answered the Lord and said, “I came here after going about the earth and walking around under heaven.” 8. Then the Lord said to him, “Have you yet considered my servant Job, since there is none like him on the earth: a blameless, true, and God-fearing...info_outline Homily - Evangelism is Messy (in a messy world)
Homily – Bringing Grace to a Messy WorldSt Luke 18:35-43. The healing of the blind beggar. Three points: Jesus did not stay in one place. Jesus Christ is and was God. It is fitting that He reside in the throne room of God, surrounded by the cherubim and seraphim, with His holiness reflecting off all the angels and archangels around Him. But as the being of perfect love, He had to act on behalf of his beloved children (US!). So He took flesh and became man. Some would have expected Him to take up residence in the Temple or in the Governor’s House. But instead...info_outline Bible Study - Job 1:1-5 [Job is Righeous]
Bible Study – Job Class Two: Job 1: 1-5 From the Orthodox Study Bible. 1. Faithful Job and His Children 1 There was a man in the land of Austis, whose name was Job. That man was true, blameless, righteous, and God-fearing, and he abstained from every evil thing. 2 Now he had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and his cattle consisted of seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred female donkeys in the pastures. Moreover he possessed a very large number of house servants. His works were also great on the earth, and that...info_outline Homily - Gratitude and the Ten Lepers
On Gratitude (with thanks to St. Nicholai Velimirovich) Luke 17: 12-19 (The Ten Lepers, only one of whom returned) [Started with a meditation on the virtues of hard work and gratitude; hard work so that we can be proud of what we have done and foster an appreciation for the amount of effort that goes into the making and sustaining of things. This makes us grateful for what we have, and especially the amount of effort that goes into gifts that we receive from others. But what if these virtues break down? What if there was a society where hard work was not required and gratitude was...info_outline
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 God
The 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 together on the weekends with leftover scraps. Which method describes the temple that is you?
Three points from today’s Epistle reading, each of them explores what St. Paul means when he says that ; “You are God’s building… his holy temple.”
The First Point: St. Paul is using a metaphor. He is comparing us to a building in order to teach us something we have not realized about ourselves. We may think we know more about what it means to be a Christian than we do about being a building, but what if we are wrong? St. Paul – and all of our other teachers – try to bring us to the truth by stating it plainly; but one of the problems with being human is that we hear such plain speaking in a manner that matches our expectations. It is rarely transformative in the way we need. We think we know what it means to be a Christian, so when someone tries to tell us a better way to do it rarely sinks in. On the other hand, we probably haven’t thought much about how we are like buildings, so the hope is that the metaphor of the building will make it through our defense systems in order to challenge us to live better. There are many ways in which we are certainly NOT a building, but let’s see how we are, and what that says about living the Christian life.
The Second Point: every building needs a proper foundation. If this foundation is ourselves (the “contractor’s grade” default option), or even something so noble as our families, our work, our friends, our community, or our, then no matter how well we build that house, it will not last. The only proper foundation for the house that is each one of us, is Christ Himself. Our imaginations may have a hard time with this. Many of us grew up singing a wonderful song; “On Christ the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand” – now what is the child’s imagination to do with such an image?! But this song is based on Christ’s teaching towards the end of His “sermon on the mount” (St. Matthew 5-7), where, after telling everyone to dedicate themselves completely to love and service in God’s name, He says that this kind of life will make them like the wise man who built his house on the rock, and his house survived every buffet; and those who do not are like the fool who built his house on sand, and his house fell with a great crash (St. Matthew 7: 24-27).
Our foundation must be on Christ; and not the Christ of our imaginations or as we think He is or want Him to be (this is just sand by another name); but on Christ as He really is. And there is no better way to learn who Christ really is than through opening ourselves completely to the prayer, worship, teachings, and experience of the Orthodox Church. St. Paul is speaking as an Apostle of this Church when he says; “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation.” We must center our feet squarely on the unmovable source of power, love, and truth; and that source is Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
The Third Point: it matters what sort of materials you use. St. Paul puts it this way;
“Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.”
We understand what this means, because we have seen what happens to buildings that were made poorly of cheap materials ; and we can compare them with the buildings that were made well and of the best materials. The best materials are sometimes harder to get, and it takes more effort to build something to last. I remember the fort my friends and I built in the woods using left over scraps from our basements and garages. It was so cool – but it did not last. I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences. Think about his: If we knew that we were meant to live somewhere for thousands of years – perhaps even forever, wouldn’t we take the time to build it well? Or would we throw something up as the mood struck us and hope for the best? And yet isn’t that the way we act; putting Christian spackle over the walls we threw up willy-nilly based on what are hearts desired in any given moment?
In the metaphor, the materials are gold, silver, stones, wood, hay, and straw; but in real life, the materials are your actions. How have we lived? Have we been chaste? Self-sacrificing? Charitable? Patient with others? Have we followed the counsel of our ego; the wisdom of the age; … or the guidance of Christ and His Church?
We can pretend that all actions are the same (God loves us! He can bless the things my heart truly desires!), but St. Paul is pointing out that they are not – there is an objective standard for judging our actions. A straw house will be blown down by the first hungry wolf that comes to the door; a brick house will stand up to his huffing and puffing. The spiritual wolves [fire] will destroy the man who has built his life in deceit and selfishness; but cannot harm the one who has built his life in love and repentance.
So, in conclusion, I ask you: have you built your life on the solid rock that is Christ? Is it the real Christ, or is it one that simply suits your fancy? Are you sure?
Have you intentionally laid the walls of your house brick by brick with humility, love, patience, long-suffering, and charity? When a bad brick was laid in, have you repented of your misdeed, rooted it out, and repaired the damage? Have you constantly checked for leaks and performed the maintenance necessary to keep your house secure from the constant abuse of the elements?
And last of all, have you filled this house with the only thing worthy of such a temple: the Holy Spirit of God Himself? For as St. Paul ends today’s lesson; “For the temple of God is holy, whose temple you are.”