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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 12, 2018

Peter began to say to him, ‘Lo, we have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions (μετὰ διωγμῶν), and in the age to come eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first.’” (Mk 10: 28-31)

Indeed, we receive “a hundredfold“ of whatever we have had to let go of, or have had to “leave,“ for the sake of Christ and for the gospel, already “now in this time.“ But we also receive “persecutions,“ either from within ourselves or from outside, or both. And, whether we are “last“ or “fi...

Monday, October 9, 2017

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house, and took his place at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.’” (Lk 7: 36-39) 

This Pharisee is considered a “righteous” man by the standards of his world, although he isn’t called “righteous” in the Gospel-n...

Sunday, July 30, 2017

“… Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children (χωρὶς γυναικῶν καὶ παιδίων).” (Mt 14: 17-21)

Just a curious thought. As far as the disciples are concerned, including Matthew, the holy Evangelist, the “women” (and children) in this scene don’t “count.” And in our traditional texts, for example, in the text of our Byzantine prayer of the Blessing of the Breads at the Litya (Litany) at the end of Vespers, we mention the “five thousand fed...

Friday, July 28, 2017

Judge for yourselves (ἐν ὑμῖν αὐτοῖς κρίνατε); is it proper (πρέπον ἐστιν, is it becoming) for a woman to pray to God uncovered (ἀκατακάλυπτον)? Does not nature itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is a dishonor (ἀτιμία) to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory (δόξα αὐτῇ ἐστιν)? For her hair is given to her for a covering. If any one is disposed to be contentious, we recognize no other custom (συνήθειαν), nor do the churches of God.” (1 Cor 11: 13-16)

This happens to be part of our Church’s reading for today, so let me reflect on it. Here St. Paul argues for propriety/decency in two areas of “custom,” concerning our external appearance, as men and women: 1. Women should be not be “uncovered” at prayer, and 2. Men should not wear long hair.

Today, however, in my Ch...

Friday, May 5, 2017

After he (Jesus) had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example/pattern (ὑπόδειγμα), that you also should do as I have done to you…’” (Jn 13: 12-15)

Just yesterday I happened to read about this event, which occured on Holy Thursday at the so-called “Last Supper,” described as “the day Jesus shared the priesthood with the Apostles.” I think this is accurate, in that it describes foot-washing as one of the symbols (or “examples” or “patterns”) of Christian priesthood, as a path of humble service.

Here’s a provocati...

Monday, January 16, 2017

And a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years and could not be healed by any one, came up behind him, and touched the fringe of his garment; and immediately her flow of blood ceased. And Jesus said, ‘Who was it that touched me?’ When all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the multitudes surround you and press upon you!’ But Jesus said, ‘Some one touched me; for I perceive that power has gone forth from me.’ And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.’” (Lk 8: 43-48)

In most traditional cultures, including my Russian-Orthodox world, courage is not a vi...

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