Category Archives: Sunday Homilies

13th SUNDAY OF LUKE, Luke 18: 18-27

In just about any activity, we can get so caught up in following the rules that we miss the larger point. Sometimes we do that due to our own pride, our sense that we simply have to achieve perfection in order to be worthwhile. Of course, what we are really showing then is that we think that it is all about us and our ability to be right by our own standards. But when circumstances arise that make clear that it is not all about us and that we are not perfect, it can lay us low. That is exactly what happened to the rich man who encountered Jesus Christ in Sunday’s gospel lesson. Continue reading

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The Rich Fool – Against Greed and Anxiety

9th Sunday of Luke, Luke 12:16-21

Life is a gift of God. No amount of possessions, however abundant, can make it greater or give it security. The notion that life consists in possessions, in ‘having’ (the constant requirement of more), is cut in this ‘pericope’ by the understanding that life cannot be secured by possessions, that existence is a gift outside human control. Continue reading

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Man’s Fall and Redemption

8th SUNDAY OF LUKE, Luke 10: 25-37

In Luke 10:25–37, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan, which many Christians have seen as a parable of man’s fall and redemption. Such an interpretation is usually elaborated in three steps.

First, there is the story of the fall, concerning which we are told, “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.” This man started in Jerusalem, in the garden place of God’s presence. But he did not stay there. He made a deliberate decision to go down on a journey. No one told him to go. He made the decision on his own, as an assertion of his independence. “Man, though in honour, does not remain,” says the psalmist; “He is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:12).

These robbers did not kill the fallen man completely. They left him half dead. Even fallen, he did not suffer total depravity. There was still some chance for him, though he had no way of saving himself from his terrible predicament. By this man’s disobedience, in fact, sin entered the world, and by sin death. Indeed, death reigned already in his mortal flesh. How shall we describe this poor man’s plight except that he was “alien from the commonwealth of Israel and a stranger from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12)? He had been left half dead, and there was no help for him in this world.

Along came a priest and then a Levite, men representing the Mosaic Law, but they had to pass by the fallen wayfarer, because by the works of the Law is no man justified. The priest and the Levite were hastening to the temple in order to offer repeatedly the same sacrifices that could never take away sins. Indeed, matters were made even worse, because “in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 10:3–4).

Secondly, a Samaritan, “as he journeyed, came where [the man] was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.” In the fullness of time, that is to say, God sent His Son to be a good neighbour to him who fell among the thieves. This Son, being in the form of God, did not think equality with God a thing to be seized, but He emptied Himself and took the form of a servant. Indeed, this Son became an utter outcast—in short, a Samaritan, a person without respect or social stand- ing. Although He was rich, yet for our sake He became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich.

What did the Samaritan do for the man that fell among thieves? He washed him in the waters of baptism, cleansing his wounds, and into those wounds He poured His grace in the form of anointing oil, the holy chrism, and the Eucharistic wine to prevent infection.

Our Samaritan did not leave beside the road this half-dead victim of the fall among thieves. On the contrary, “he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.” And then he went away. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. This Samaritan is also the great High Priest that entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. But even as He went away, He said to the innkeeper, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.”

And this promise brings us to our third point. Our Samaritan says to the innkeeper, “when I come again.” He does not say, “if I come again,” but “when I come again.” There is no “if” about the return of this Samaritan. This same Samaritan, who is taken up from us into heaven, shall so come in like manner as we have seen Him go into heaven. We solemnly confess, then, that He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time, apart from sin unto salvation.

All of history is given significance by the two visits of the Samaritan. Only those who abide in the inn awaiting His return really know the meaning of history. The inn is the house of history, the Church where the innkeeper cares for the Samaritan’s friends.

This parable does not describe that return of the Samaritan. It says simply “when I return.” The parable leaves that return in the future. The story terminates in the place where the Samaritan would have his friends stay—at the inn. It is imperative for their souls’ health that they remain within this inn, to which our Samaritan has sworn to return. In this inn His friends pass all their days as in eagerness they await His sworn return.

~ Fr. Patrick Reardon

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Just Reach Out in Humble Faith

Homily for the 7th Sunday of Luke in the Orthodox Church Luke 8:41-56

Even in a small parish, it is not hard to see that people are different from one another in many ways. We have different interests, personal backgrounds, and opinions on all kinds of things. We do not all look or dress alike. But what we have in common as Orthodox Christians is far more profound than any of that. Our salvation is not in any conventional human characteristic or endeavour, but in the healing mercy of Jesus Christ.

In last Sunday’s gospel passage, two very different people approached Him in humble faith and received new life as a result. Jairus was a ruler of the synagogue, an upstanding man in the Jewish community. We do not know the name of the other person, but she had little in common with Jairus. She was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, and had spent all her money on treatments that did not help her. She was not only poor, but also considered unclean because of the flow of blood. As a result, she would have been alone, for anyone who had physical contact with her would also become unclean. She could not even enter the Temple or have a normal social life.

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The Rich Man and Lazarus

5th SUNDAY OF LUKE, Luke 16: 19-31

A number of messages can be drawn from the severe contrast this parable presents between the earthly lives of the rich man and Lazarus and also their experiences in the next life.

The first message is that there is a life after death and that what we do in our earthly lives will determine how we will experience eternity. It was not the rich man’s wealth as such that condemned him. The reference to Lazarus being carried by angels to “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16: 22) (Abraham was a wealthy man during his earthly life) confirms that wealth, when used properly and in accordance with God’s will, does not deprive a person of the eternal kingdom. Rather, it is the misuse of wealth, especially as a means to super-feed one’s egoism and self-centredness that results in the loss of the eternal kingdom.

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SEED AND SOIL

4th SUNDAY OF LUKE, Luke 8: 5-15

“And some fell into good soil and grew, and yielded a hundredfold” (Luke 8:8)

A seed contains a miracle. When you look at it from the outside, or touch it, it appears hard, dry, perhaps even dead and incapable of producing anything. But place it in the ground, give it water and warmth, and life begins to stir. The outer shell dies but the inner kernel comes alive by the mysterious forces of growth. The inner powers of the kernel are released when the seed is in proper soil and receives adequate moisture. The kernel germinates and new life begins. As long as nourishment is provided, growth continues. From the seed comes a flower, a plant, or a tree, each of which was present only potentially in the seed. Continue reading

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Jesus Raises the Son of the Widow of Nain

3rd SUNDAY OF LUKE, Luke 7: 11-16

“And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep” (vs.12-13).

These few words, “Do not weep”, encompass the whole purpose of Christ’s coming to the world. Today’s moving gospel reading from Luke 7:11-17 reminds us that Jesus came to wipe away our tears, to soften our pain, and to lighten the burden of life. One can only imagine how painful must have been the grief of the widow on her way to the cemetery to bury her only child – a son. St. Luke tells us that a “large crowd from the city was with her”, but no matter how many people around her, she was now alone and aware only of her pain and grief. In the beautiful city of Nain in the region of Galilee, all she could see was two graves – that of her husband and now that of her only son. Now we might hastily think that this is simply the tragic story of one woman. But isn’t it really everyone’s story? Life can be beautiful for a while, but inevitably the day comes when it is no longer so. There is suffering; there is trouble; there is war; there is death. The result of all this is grief – an utterly painful experience that all of us must at some point in life come to terms with.

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BE MERCIFUL

Luke 6:31-36: ‘And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful’. Continue reading

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The Sunday before the feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross

11 September 2022
St John 3:13-17

The feast and commemoration of the Elevation (Exaltation) of the Honoured and Life-giving Cross falls on September 14 in the Holy Orthodox Church’s ecclesiastical calendar.

On this day we commemorate two events connected with the Precious Cross of Christ: the finding of the Cross on Golgotha by the equal-to-the-apostles King Constantine and his mother St. Helena, and the returning of the Cross to Jerusalem from Persia. Continue reading

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Transfigured Sight and Speech

The Transfiguration of our Lord

“He took (Peter, James and John) up to the mountain, that He might show them His kingdom, before they witnessed His suffering and death…so that…they might understand that he was not crucified…because of his own powerlessness, but because it had please Him of His goodness to suffer for the salvation of the world.” ~ St. Ephraim

7th SUNDAY OF MATTHEW, Matthew 9: 27-35

It has never been hard to find people who view Jesus Christ in many different ways. Some use His name as a curse word or otherwise mock Him. Some make Him in their own image as an advocate of whatever agenda they prize most in life. Some view Him as a teacher or prophet to be admired, but not as the Son of God to be worshiped. Today’s gospel reading presents Him in a radically different way as One Who restores sight to blind beggars and the ability to speak to a man who had been possessed by a demon. Christ is not simply a miracle worker, of course, but the Saviour of the world Who, as St. Paul wrote, has welcomed us for the glory of God. Continue reading

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