June 3, 2020

  “Now the men who were holding Jesus mocked him and beat him; they also blindfolded him and asked him, ‘Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?’ And they spoke many other words against him, reviling him.” (Lk 22: 63-65)

     Does it do us any good, to know the heartbreaking details of certain egregious crimes, like the ones described above? They blindfolded Him, beat Him, mocked Him, and apparently they enjoyed it. You can’t “un-know” that; it stays with you, like stories (and also videos) that pop up in the news, of various forms of human cruelty, shamelessness, vandalism, etc. How can I “process” this information, so that it does not make me cynical about humanity in general?

     I can “process” it in the light of the dark story quoted above, of God’s only-begotten Son subjecting...

June 2, 2020

  “The Lord is my light and my saviour; whom then shall I fear? The Lord is the defender of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?” (Ps 26/27: 1, Septuagint-translation)

     The opposite of fear is not courage, or self-confidence, but faith. When some form of fear or anxiety rears its ugly head in my heart, like the fear of financial insecurity, of human opinion, of abandonment and being alone, of “failure” or “success,” – it’s a tap on the shoulder, telling me that I’ve slipped away from God-reliance; I’ve lost sight of His loving presence in my life and my world.

     So I need to hurry back into His hands, in some heartfelt prayer, letting His grace liberate me from the crippling effects of fear. Because God’s grace, – His “energies” of mercy, love, and Self-offering com-pass...

June 1, 2020

  “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that anyone may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (Jn 6: 48-51)

     Differently from the “manna in the wilderness” (Ex 16), the Bread of Life in the Church’s Eucharist does not only “come down from heaven.” While it is God Who makes our bread into “the living bread which came down from heaven,” by sending down His Holy Spirit in the Church’s Liturgy, it needs to be baked, and then offered, by our human hands.

     The Lord willed it so, in His New Covenant with us, that we participat...

May 28, 2020

  “Jesus said to her (Mary Magdalene), ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not touch me (Μή μου ἅπτου / Noli me tangere / Не прикасайся мне), for/because (γὰρ) I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (Jn 20: 15-17)

     As we Orthodox celebrate the Lord’s Ascension today, I’m thinking about what the Lord said to Mary Magdalene about it. She’s not to “touch“ Him as she could previously, physically, “because“...

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