The Lord’s entry into the country of the Gadarenes was a testimony that He came into this world, to seek and save the darkened and fallen nature of humanity, because the situation cannot remain like this. Humans should not live with a fearful and darkened heart, but in joy, in love and in the light. Continue reading
Homily for the Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council and the 4th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church – Luke 8:5-15
I am sure that we all waste our time and energy now and then. Of course, sometimes we need a diversion from our usual cares and there is nothing wrong with taking a rest from time to time. The problem, however, is when we find excuses not to do what needs to be done. We do not want to look back on our day, our lives, or our relationships and be saddened because we failed to give attention to what is truly important.
How many times has somebody—a teacher, your mother or father, or even a friend— told you to LISTEN? Sometimes we DO hear something, but that doesn’t mean we are really listening!
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear a story about somebody who goes out to the field to plant seeds. Some seeds never sprout at all. Some seeds sprout at first and then die. But some seeds fall onto good dirt, and they do sprout. They grow and grow and give a good crop.
This story shows how we should hear God’s teachings. The Gospel explains that the seeds that are in the good dirt are the ones who, “hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart.” They hold onto it, because the word of God is something precious!
So it’s easy to hear the word, but we also have to listen. That means in church, or in church school, or when we read our Bibles, or when our parents tell us about Jesus Christ, we listen. We try to take these words about God and put them into our hearts. We try to live the words, and not just hear them. We hold them fast in an honest and good heart.
Presvytera Alexandra Houck, myocn
“Do not weep!” This is what Jesus said to the widow of Nain, whose son had died as she was processing with his body to the place of burial. Can you imagine her predicament? We learn from today’s Gospel reading (Third Sunday of Luke 7:11-16) that she previously lost her husband (v.12) and that this was her only child or at least her only son (v.12). Can you imagine her pain? And Jesus says to her “Do not weep” (v.13). It reminds me of adults who say to crying children, “Knock it off, stop crying.” Now we know this was not Jesus’ intent, for the gospel also tells us that “He had compassion upon her” (v.13), and we know He had something in mind when He said, “Do not weep.” We’ll get to that later. Continue reading
We’ve all heard sad stories. But in today’s Gospel reading, we hear one of the saddest of all. We hear about a woman whose son had died. She was already a widow—her husband had died. Now her son had died, too. Of course, she was very upset!
When Jesus saw her, He felt sorry for her, too. “Do not weep,” He said. “Don’t cry.” Right then, He touched her son, and he rose up! The boy was alive again! Lots of times, especially when you were little, your parents might have seen you sad or crying. “Don’t cry,” they said. Of course, your parents don’t want you to be sad. Just like your loving parents, God does not want us to be sad either.
But God has given us something to be very happy and joyful about. He gave His own Son, Jesus Christ. He opened up heaven for us, so that one day, we can be in a perfect place forever! “Don’t cry,” God tells us too!
Presvytera Alexandra Houck, myocn.
2nd Sunday of St. Luke (Luke 6:31-36)
When was the last time someone slapped you or hit you in the face? Maybe it was a parent when you talked back to them or used foul language. Maybe it was on the playground as a little kid or drunk at a bar in college. Maybe it never happened. We should be so fortunate. However, how many of us have been slapped in the face with an insult about our appearance or about where we cam from? How many of us have been stabbed in the back with gossip or slander about our character or our habits? Whether it was a physical slap or a verbal one, how did we respond? Did we hit back? Did we consider that person an enemy? Most likely, at some point in our lives, we did. Continue reading
A family brought in two cocoons that were about to hatch. They watched as the first one began to open and the butterfly inside squeezed very slowly and painfully through a tiny hole that it chewed in one end of the cocoon. After lying exhausted for about ten minutes following its agonizing emergence, the butterfly finally flew out the open window on its beautiful new wings. The family decided to help the second butterfly so that it would not have to go through such an excruciating ordeal. So, as it began to emerge, they carefully sliced open the cocoon with a razor blade, doing the equivalent of a Caesarean section. The second butterfly never did sprout wings, and in about ten minutes, instead of flying away, it quietly died. The family asked a biologist friend to explain what had happened. The scientist said that the difficult struggle to emerge from the small hole actually pushes liquids from deep inside the butterfly’s body cavity into tiny capillaries in the wings where they hardened to complete the healthy and beautiful adult butterfly. The lesson? WITHOUT THE STRUGGLE, THERE ARE NO WINGS.
In today’s Gospel lesson, our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us to love our enemies, do good, and be merciful, just as our Father is merciful. (Luke 6:35-36) What response do we offer in our day-to-day journey as Christians? Are we willing to struggle to love our enemies and show them mercy? If so, we join God’s Heavenly Hosts, and through His grace, we reach the heights of His Kingdom with the spiritual wings we will have grown in the process. Glory to God!