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Sunday, May 27, 2018

     “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Part...

Sunday, September 10, 2017

“…Then he (the king) said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Mt 22: 8-14)

Christ invites all of us, “both bad and good,” to His “wedding feas...

Thursday, July 6, 2017

For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has wrought through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ, thus making it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on another man’s foundation, but as it is written, ‘They shall see who have never been told of him, and they shall understand who have never heard of him.’” (Rom 15: 18-21)

Here’s a curious thought, about our Church’s above-quoted reading for this Thursday: St. Paul is not interested in preaching where others have preached before him. Because in Paul’s day, just as it is in our day, there...

Monday, June 12, 2017

For the Lord’s sake be in subjection (ὑποτάγητε) to every human institution / creation (πάσῃ ἀνθρωπίνῃ κτίσει), whether of the emperor as supreme, or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish. As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. Honor everyone. Love the fellowship of believers. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” (1 Pet 2: 13-17)

Is it harder for us, in our Information Age, than it was for St. Peter, to honor civil authorities, when we know so much about them, in 24-hour news coverage? I don’t think so. Because, according to tradition, St. Peter, who left us the above-quoted words about civil authorities...

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Lord, our God, save Your people and bless Your inheritance. Protect the fullness of Your Church. Sanctify those who love the beauty of Your house. Glorify them in return by Your divine power, and forsake us not who have set our hope in You.“ (Prayer of the Second Antiphon, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

This prayer speaks to our basic human needs for identity and belonging, which find true fulfilment in our being God’s and of God; in belonging to “the fullness (pleroma) of the Church (ekklesia).“ We might also foster our sense of identity and belonging elsewhere, in associations online or offline; cultural, political, sports-related, and so on. But none of these offer us unity with, and belonging to, “all.“ And by “all“ I mean, Creator and all of creation, visible and invisible. The Church is t...

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons; and he would not allow any one to carry anything through the temple. And he taught, and said to them, ‘Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.’” (Mk 11: 15-17)

In an episode of “The Walking Dead,” there’s a scene in a church, where a priest says, “This is the house of the Lord,” and another character replies, “No, it’s just four walls and a roof.” It made me think of this well-known passage in the Gospels, in which our Lord so vehemently defends the ”sacred” (dedicated) space of “His house.”...

Saturday, May 14, 2016

I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren. What I mean is that each one of you says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I belong to Apollos,’ or ‘I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Cor 1: 10-13)

 

The “dissensions among you,” St. Paul indicates to me today, come from placing human allegiances above the One “crucified for you.” And further in this well-known first chapter of 1 Corinthians, the Apostle goes on to stress the centrality of the Cross and its u...

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