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Friday, August 30, 2019

     Priest (silently): “Again and countless times we fall down before You, and we implore You, O Good One, Who loves mankind: That You, having regarded our prayer, may cleanse our souls and bodies from every defilement of flesh and spirit, and grant to us to stand before Your holy altar of sacrifice, free of guilt/debt and condemnation(ἀνένοχον καὶ ἀκατάκριτον). Grant also, O God, to those who pray with us, progress in life (προκοπὴν βίου), faith, and spiritual understanding (συνέσεως πνευματικῆς). Grant that they always worship You with awe and love, partake of Your Holy Mysteries without guilt/debt or condemnation (ἀνενόχως καὶ ἀκατακρίτως),and be deemed worthy of Your celestial Kingdom.” (Second Prayer of the Faithful, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

    

     A...

Thursday, August 29, 2019

     

      “For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison, for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; because John said to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.’ And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, ‘Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.’ And the king was sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it...

Saturday, September 23, 2017

But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’” (Lk 1: 13-17)

The Archangel Gabriel describes the “spiritual” impact of the Great Forerunner of the Lord, who was to...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison, for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; because John said to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.’ And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, ‘Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.’ And the king was sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples...

Friday, July 7, 2017

“…The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony (εἰς μαρτυρίαν), to bear witness (μαρτυρήσῃ) to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness (μαρτυρήσῃ) to the light.” (Jn 1: 6-8)

Today, as those of us on the Older Calendar celebrate the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, I’m thinking about this business of “bearing witness” (“martyria” in Greek, i.e., martyrdom), specifically to “the light.” It was the whole point of St. John the Baptist’s life, or his vocation. The Forerunner literally “bore” witness, or “carried” it, as his great gift and cross that included great suffering. “Martyrdom” or “bearing witness” to the Light always includes suffer...

Friday, February 24, 2017

“…Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven is taken by force (βιάζεται), and the forceful (βιασταὶ) seize it (ἁρπάζουσιν αὐτήν).” (Mt 11: 7-12)

John the Baptist was a...

Sunday, February 19, 2017

He (John the Baptist) said therefore to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath/anger to come (ἀπὸ τῆς μελλούσης ὀργῆς)? Bear fruits that befit repentance…’” (Lk 3: 7-8a)

Today, on Meatfare Sunday, when we commemorate The Last Judgment, I’m thinking about St. John the Baptist’s approach to “the wrath/anger to come.” He’s asking, Who told you to “flee” from it? You can’t do that, because you can’t flee from your own selves, and from the “wrath” or “anger” you carry and multiply within yourselves, as a “brood of vipers.” What you can do is make a change, in “repentance” (a change of mind), and turn away from self-centered anger and fear, embracing God-centered love and faith instead. Similarly, our Lord in His parable of...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be (so) now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” (Mt 3: 13-17)

 

St. John the Baptist was “sent from God” (Jn 1:6) for a specific ministry to the people; to “make straight the paths of the Lord” in the people’s hearts, by calling them to “the baptism of repentance” or “metanoia,” a...

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