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Monday, August 6, 2018

     “Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease. For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming (δύναμιν καὶ παρουσίαν) of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed (βεβαιότερον, more sure), which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts…” (2 Pet 1: 15-19)

     What is “made known” to us, t...

Saturday, June 16, 2018

     “’Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.’ And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority/power, and not as their scribes.” (Mt 7: 24-29)

     Jesus taught the people (including us) in a different way, “and not as their (ou...

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of idleness (ἀργίας), despondency (περιεργίας), love of power (φιλαρχίας), and idle talk (ἀργολογίας).” (Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem, Part 1)

It is not sane to “love“ power or authority over others, although it is vital that some people exercise it, as their God-given vocation, – either as parents, or as political, military, or Church-leaders, or as teachers/professors, or as business-managers or executives. As St. Paul reminds us, “there is no authority except that which is from God. The authorities that exist have been appointed by God.“ (Rom 13: 1) The response-ability (or “ability to respond“ to the call/vocation) of power is humbling and often painful, for example, when one must “parent“ a misbehaving child while wanting to be a “f...

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women (τὰς τοιαύτας). What do you say about her?’ This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said...

Friday, January 26, 2018

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge (ἐν ἐπιγνώσει) of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge (διὰ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως) of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire (ἐπιθυμίᾳ), and become partakers (κοινωνοὶ) of the divine nature.” (2 Pet 1: 2-4)

The “knowledge“ of God brings grace, peace and divine power into my life, St. Peter reminds me here. We have been given to “know“ Him in the coming to us, as one of us, of His Son, the God-Man Jesus Christ. He partook of our human nature, that we might, if we choose t...

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection; and they asked him a question, saying, ‘Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the wife, and raise up children for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no children; and the second took her, and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; and the seven left no children. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Is not this why you err, not knowing (μὴ εἰδότες) either the scriptures or the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

“…For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair…” (2 Cor 4: 6-8)

As imperfect human beings in an imperfect world we do, at times, encounter “darkness,” both within and outside ourselves. But as Church or “ekklesia” (from “ekkaleo,” meaning, “to call out”), – as “those called out” by God to follow His Son, in communion with Him, we are never entirely light-less, even when encountering darkness. Because ours is a God Who knows how to deal with darkness. He doesn’t shy away from...

Monday, February 6, 2017

O Lord and Master of my life, give me not the spirit of idleness, despondency, lust for power (φιλαρχίας, любоначалия) and idle talk.” (Prayer of St. Ephrem, Part 1)

The exercise of ”power” or “authority” by some of us is an essential, God-given ministry, whether we are parents, managers, political leaders, church-leaders, or leaders of some other kind. As St. Paul reminds us, ”For there is no authority (ἐξουσία) except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Rom 13: 1) It would in fact be sinful to avoid the exercise of power or authority, if this is part of one’s vocation or ministry. Because somebody has to do it, to maintain the “order” (“taxis” in Greek) of things, as well as the security that order provides for all of us.

But a “lust for power” (φιλ-αρχία, litera...

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.” (Jn 1: 10-13)

When it comes to our physical birth, we do not have the “power to become” children of certain parents (and not of other, different parents), because we have no say in the matter. But when we are “born again” in Christ; when we’re born “of water and Spirit” (Jn 3: 3, 5), God gives us the “power to become” and to grow and to develop into a specific identity of our choice, and that is, “children of God.”

Before our Lord’s salvific dea...

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

“…He (Pilate) entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, ‘Where are you from?’ But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, ‘Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?’ Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.’” (Jn 19: 9-11)

Pilate was in a position of civil “power,” which is given to him “from above,” as our Lord reminds him. More surprisingly, perhaps, Jesus mercifully adds that “therefore” Pilate’s sin is lesser than that of Judas, who was not burdened with any position of public authority. While Pilate is still “guilty of a sin,” as a public servant he finds himself pushed to carry...

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