Archive for the ‘Great Lent’ Category

The greatest sin of Judas was that he had no anger against sin. The action of communion within us, with the exchange of attributes.

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

I think it is really important that you listen to this 11 minute homily.

SYNOPSIS:On Holy Thursday we simultaneously contemplate the sin of Judas and the institution of the Eucharist. There are two hymns from the matins canon that perfectly explain the greatest sin of Judas – it was not avarice, but to not be angry against sin. This is important to know, and apply to your life. Be angry in a godly way, and become godly. Many partake of communion without understanding why, or what it does. Another hymn from the canon perfectly explains this. We should know why we do things, and how we should do them. Learn from these two hymns the essence of Christianity.

Lacking all conscience, he received the Body that delivers men from sin and the divine Blood that was shed for the world. He was not ashamed to drink what he had sold for money, he felt no anger against sin, for he knew not how to cry, #39;O ye works of the Lord praise ye the and exalt Him above all for ever#39;.

Since I am man not merely in appearance but in reality, the human nature united to Me is made godlike through the exchange of attributes. Know Me, then, as one single Christ, who saves those among whom I have been born and whose nature I have taken.(Canon, Ode 8,9, Matins for Holy Thursday)

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/holy-week-day-04_2014-04-17+holy-thursday-liturgy+greatest-sin-of-judas-no-anger-against-sin-action-of-communion-within-us-with-exchange-of-attributes.mp3

 

 

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“Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” Only those whose heart is hot will escape deception.

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Great Monday Presanctified Gospel.

Overview of the Gospel on for Presanctified Liturgy on Great Monday, in which the Lord teaches about the state of the world, and His second coming, especially emphasizing the coldness of the hearts of modern man. Our reactions to this coldness and depravity? our hearts must be hot to compensate for the cold, or else we risk being deceived with all the rest. Also a story explains how to know if Christ is coming when someone “Here is Christ”

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/holy-week-day-02_2014-04-14+great-monday-presanctified+because-iniquity-shall-abound-the-love-of-many-shall-wax-cold_matthew24-3-35.mp3

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We hold up branches because “The Lord is at hand”, but will we live in such a way that we will “rejoice always”, and overcome the things in our life that are “four days dead”?

Monday, April 14th, 2014

We hold up branches because “The Lord is at hand”, but will we live in such a way that we will “rejoice always”, and overcome the things in our life that are “four days dead”?

 

Today is basically from my heart to yours, with a bit of incoherence and great love. The epistle today tells us the Lord is at hand, and we are standing with palms and pussy willows in our hands, emulating the children of Israel. A large portion of those who held palms when the Lord was at hand in the entry into Jerusalem later were complicit in His crucifixion, and a large portion of Orthodox who have not been in church for a great while hold palms on a great church holiday. How are we going to be different? The apostle also tells us to rejoice always – how doe this apply to the raising of Lazarus, which moist of you never hear in church, and the things in your life that are four days dead?

 

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-06_2014-04-13+the-lord-is-at-hand_philippians4-4-9.mp3

 

 

A review of the Great Monday Matins Gospel, with emphasis on a few spiritually edifying points.? – the fig tree teaches us to look at everything spiritually, the scribes who questioned Jesus show how empty and lifeless dishonesty is. We must be the first son. The cornerstone in the vineyard parable.

?http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/holy-week-day-01_2014-04-13+fig-tree-scribes–question-jesus-the-first-son-the-vineyard+great-monday-matins_matthew21-18-43.mp3

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Repentance, humility, leadership, learning – it is all in there in 2 homilies for the 5th Sun of Great Lent, 2012

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Another "two-fer" today. Homilies on St Mary of Egypt, and the Sunday Gospel for the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent. As is always the case, the Scriptures have a lot to say about how we should live, and St Mary is the quintessential example of how to repent.

Synopsis: The 2 epistles for the 5th Sunday of Great Lent describe well the life of St Mary of Egypt, and also how we must live. Truly, after her repentance, she "Put on Christ", and had her conscience purged from dead works. We look in some detail at her life and how these scriptures will fulfilled in her life, and must also be fulfilled in ours.

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Hebrews 9:11-14 11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Galatians 3:23-29 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-05_2012-03-31+as-many-as-have-been-baptized-into-christ-have-put-on-christ+how-much-more-shall-the-blood-of-christ-purge-your-conscience-from-dead-works_hebrews9-11-14-galatians3-23-29.m3u

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Synopsis: The Gospel for the 5th Sunday of Lent not only sets the stage for our Lord's passion, which we will shortly go through on our way to Pascha, but also teaches two important truths. Firstly, learning takes time. This may seem like a simple and obvious truth, but it is often an ignored truth. Second: without humility, there will be no learning at all.

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Mark 10:32-45 32 And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, 33 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: 34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again. 35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. 36 And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? 37 They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. 38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? 39 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: 40 But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared. 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John. 42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-05_2012-04-01+learning-takes-time+a-lesson-in-humility_mark10-32-45.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-05_2012-04-01+learning-takes-time+a-lesson-in-humility_mark10-32-45.mp3


MANY homilies on the Sundays of Great Lent are HERE

Homilies on the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent are HERE


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Archive of Audio and text homilies:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

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2 Homilies on the cross: What is the way of the cross? Why this epistle which does not mention the cross?

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Raising our old rugged cross on the Sunday of the Cross, Great Lent, 2012

Raising our old rugged cross on the Sunday of the Cross, Great Lent, 2012

Synopsis: The entire Gospel is important, but some passages are absolutely critical to understand and follow. This is one of them. It explains what the way of the cross is, and teaches a principle that we must use literally every moment of our lives – to learn to always make a good "exchange". We explain what the Lord means when He commands us to "deny" ourselves, and what the answers to His questions: "What shall it profit a man…" and "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" must be. These are not rhetorical questions – you must answer them.

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Mark 8:34-9:1 34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. 1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-03_2012-03-18+what-is-the-way-of-the-cross+exaltation-of-the-holy-cross_mark8-34-9-1.m3u

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"Before Thy cross, we bow down in worship, O Master, and Thy Holy Resurrection we glorify!"

"Before Thy cross, we bow down in worship, O Master, and Thy Holy Resurrection we glorify!"

Synopsis: The Epistle for the Exaltation of the Cross never mentions the cross. There are many epistles that mention the cross; why was this one chosen?

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Hebrews 4:14-5:6 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. 1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. 3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. 4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-03_2012-03-17+seeing-then-that-we-have-a-great-high-priest+epistle-for-exaltation-of-the-holy-cross_hebrews4-14-5-6.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-03_2012-03-17+seeing-then-that-we-have-a-great-high-priest+epistle-for-exaltation-of-the-holy-cross_hebrews4-14-5-6.mp3


MANY homilies on the Sundays of Great Lent are HERE

Homilies on the Third Sunday of Great Lent are HERE

Homilies on the FOURTH Sunday of Great Lent are HERE

RSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homiliesRSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homilies:http://feeds.feedburner.com/OrthodoxChristianSermonsOnTheGospelsEpistlesAndOtherTopics

Archive of Audio and text homilies:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

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What Shall a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul? 3rd Sunday of Great Lent – Holy Cross Mark 8:34-9:1

Sunday, March 18th, 2012


What Shall a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul

3rd Sunday of Great Lent – Holy Cross

Mark 8:34-9:1

2011

 

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

 

Brothers and sisters, this is now the midpoint of the fast, the Sunday in which we exalt the All-Holy Cross, the third Sunday of Great Lent. 

 

In this gospel that we read today, there are many important points, and there are important questions which you must answer.  I think the most important question is this:  What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  The question before it is:  What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?  But that is sort of, more of a general question. 

 

The question that follows it, what shall a man give in exchange for his own soul, applies to every moment of your life.  It's not just a general theoretical question.  These are not rhetorical questions. 

 

In Christianity, and any discipline or belief, whether you want to become a doctor or a basketball player, you must make value judgments.  You must decide what is important and what is not important.  If it's important to become a doctor, then you're going to study when you would otherwise want to watch TV or go out and party.  If you were a Christian, you will pray when you don't really feel like praying; you will fast when you don't feel like fasting; you will forgive when you don't feel like forgiving; you will struggle even when you don't feel like struggling.  Why?  Always because this question should be being answered in your soul:  What shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 

 

What is worth your soul?  What on earth, what can you possibly gain in this world that is worth your soul?  There's nothing.  The whole world is going away.  Everything is temporary.  Everything in the world really is filled with vice and with some mixture of pride and hidden agendas and everything else.  There's nothing pure in the world.  There's nothing worth saving in the world, except those that become like Christ and are not of the world.  So in your daily life you should be answering this question every single moment. 

 

The alarm clock rings and you're kind of sleepy and you don't want to get up, but if you don't get up and you wait for the snooze two or three times or maybe you oversleep, then you have to hurry, throw on your clothes and run to work and you miss your prayers.  What kind of an exchange was that?  Perhaps you'll forget about it, but you've lost something.  You had an opportunity for Grace and you squandered it. 

 

You're driving to work and you see someone cut you off.  I guess that happens a lot around here.  And you want to be angry at that person, perhaps even curse at that person or gesture at them or say something nasty about them.  But if you do that, you lose Grace, you lose peace.  Your holy Guardian Angel flees from you when you act in such a way.  Is that a good exchange?  Just to exercise your self-righteous ego for a few moments? 

 

You can answer this question in everything you do, in everything in your life.  Everything is an exchange, everything. 

 

In the Great Canon, Saint Andrew talks about being a good trader.  We must be a trader, and our currency is our selves.  We give of our selves to God, and He gives us eternal life.  And everything is a trade.  Don't kid yourself.  Everything you do has consequences.  Every single thing you do and say and think is a trade, is an exchange.  Either you do what is good or you do what is bad.  There's not any in between.  Either our thoughts are holy or they're not. 

 

Now, I know that our thoughts can be mixed with un-holiness.  We can try to do a good thing and then feel proud about it.  Don't worry about that; just do the good thing and then confess to God that you're proud.  But everything is an exchange.  As for involuntary sins like feeling proud because you did a good thing – God will help you with those.  But you must struggle to make your exchange in the things that you can do, such as fasting, prayer, attending the services and praying at the services, not just being a candle holder at the services, but attending them with attention.  And all these things are an exchange for your soul. 

 

It is apropos that on the Sunday of the Cross, this reading would be read.  Of course it's about the Cross, and it mentions specifically that we must take up our Cross.  Really, fundamentally, if you do not take up your Cross, if you do not exchange that which is worthless for that which is beyond worth, then you cannot be saved. 

 

We live in an age of self-indulgence.  I think people were always self-indulgent, but they didn't have as much time or energy to be able to devote to self-indulgence as we do now.  Now with better help and technologies, we can truly entertain ourselves and indulge ourselves almost all day long.  Even when we are ostensibly at work we can indulge ourselves. 

 

In this age of self-indulgence, we don't know much about denying ourselves, and in fact it seems to be against our modern creed to deny ourselves. 

 

What does it mean to deny our self?  It means to make an exchange.  When the Lord said, "Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his Cross and follow Me," He repeats the same thought in the question:  "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"  Because denying yourself is denying things that are worthless, that have no permanence, that lead you away from God.   It means self-discipline, it means understanding what's important in life and going about obtaining it. 

 

And we, worldwide, are mediocre as Christians because we don't understand what's important; and when we do have some glimmer of it, we don't really proceed after it with zeal.  If we did, our churches would be full to overflowing, and our people would be full of grace and would attract other people to the faith.

 

Instead, we are sometimes almost like little enclaves because we are mediocre in our Christianity.  That's not what God intended for us.  He said, deny yourself, take up your Cross and follow Him.  Make value judgments every moment of your life. 

 

Is it worth it to break the fast because you're a little hungry and your belly is growling?  Because you say there's only cheese and meat around?  Is it really worth it?  Is it worth losing that grace?  Is it worth sullying your soul?  Is it worth judging another person?  It's an exchange.  Every single thing you do is an exchange.  May God help you to have this understanding. 

 

I think most of my task as a pastor has been to teach about this exchange, to teach that there are eternal things that matter and we must live for eternity.  The whole world wants to live in the moment, but we must live for eternity.  And when you look for eternity, you do not get satisfaction immediately.  It comes slowly, but when it comes, it never ends.  This is unlike the world where gratification can come immediately but then it dissipates, leaving us hungry for more gratification which then will always dissipate and we are always hungry, we are always starving.  It is better to pursue things that are eternal.  This is what this gospel is speaking about. 

 

May God help you to deny yourself.  In order to deny yourself, you have to decide what's important in life.  Your ego, your self-gratification, your comfort, all those things are not important.  All that's important is Christ and whether or not there is Christ in you.  And the only way to have Christ in you is to be able to make judgments, value judgments, to be able to always think of something as:  Is this worth exchanging for my soul.

 

Now, of course, doing one thing or not doing another thing does not obliterate your soul; but I will tell you, you should think of it that way.  Every sin is very, very dangerous; because if you sin in a certain way, how do you know that you're going to stop?  How do you know that it's not going to affect the rest of your life and bring you far down?  You don't know this.  The only thing you know is that:  If you cleave to God, you will always be safe. 

 

So let's make judgments, moment by moment.  Let's always ask this question.  Have this question, not in your mind, not something that you think of cognitively; but let it be deeply, deeply in your soul, that you're always making a judgment:  Is what I'm about to do or say or more likely think, is that worth doing or saying or thinking, in exchange for my soul?  May God help you.  Amen.

 

Transcribed by the hand of Helen, May God save her and her loved ones.

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2011     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

This article is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-03_2011-03-27+holy-cross+what-shall-a-man-give-in-exchange-for-his-soul_mark8-34-9-1.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-03_2011-03-27+holy-cross+what-shall-a-man-give-in-exchange-for-his-soul_mark8-34-9-1.doc

 

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A two-fer today: Homilies on the two Sunday Gospels and St Gregory Palamas – sin,sickness,faith,healing,perfection – it’s all in there.

Monday, March 12th, 2012

A two-fer today: Homilies on the two Sunday Gospels and St Gregory Palamas

St Gregory PalamasSynopsis: This is an important discussion, too wonderful to believe for most Christians, but absolutely true, and the main teaching of St Gregory Palamas: To be Christian is to become perfect. The Gospel for St. Gregory teaches this in a hidden way, when it says: "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture". Let us look in wonder at his teaching, the Gospel John 10:9-16, and the Matins Theotokion: "Adam's nature was made Godlike O Virgin, when without undergoing change, God took flesh within thy womb, and we who were deceived of old by the hope of becoming Gods, have been set free from the ancient condemnation", and how we are to pursue perfection.

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If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-02_2012-03-11+saint-gregory-palamas-i-am-the-door-by-me-if-any-man-enter-in-he-shall-be-saved-and-shall-go-in-and-out-and-find-pasture_john10-9-16.m3u

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John 10:9-16 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.


Healing of the Paralytic on the Sabbath day. Synopsis: Why do we speak of the Paralytic borne of four during Great Lent? It is because we must learn that we are paralytics because of sin, and the relationship of sin to sickeness, physical and mental. We must also learn what saving faith is and that we must help out brother.

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Mark 2:1-12 And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. 2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. 3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. 4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. 6 But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, 7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? 8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? 9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? 10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) 11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. 12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.


MANY homilies on the Sundays of Great Lent are HERE

Homilies on the Second Sunday of Great Lent are HERE

Homilies on the Third Sunday of Great Lent are HERE


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Archive of Audio and text homilies:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

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The Triumph of Orthodoxy must occur in the heart, and will be because of doing simple things, as the Gospel teaches today

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Calling of Philip and NathanielLISTEN NOW

Synopsis: Orthodoxy and life is very deep and complex, but the essence of Christian life is simple. The Gospel today teaches us a simple way, and if we obey the simple apostolic command, we will not be confounded. If we think too much, we will always be confused. We look at the calling of Nathaniel and the simple way he was told to approach his doubts; this applies to EVERY doubt and difficulty in our life. "Come and see!" is the only door to the triumph of Orthodoxy, that is, the fullness of the indwelling of God, in our hearts.

MANY homilies on the Sundays of Great Lent are HERE

Homilies on the First Sunday of Great Lent are HERE

Homilies on the Second Sunday of Great Lent are HERE

John 1:43-51 43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. 44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. 46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! 48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. 49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. 50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. 51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.


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How to learn to forgive. Sunday of Forgiveness, 2012

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Bliny Stack

Forgiveness Sunday is not all about this!

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Synopsis: On Forgiveness Sunday, on the precipice of Great Lent, we hear in the Gospel the last important piece of essential information for preparation for Great Lent and salvation in general. Forgiveness is the most important topic here, after we have been taught about in the preceding Sundays about the Judgment, the process of sin and repentance, and the deadly sin of judging others. The first and last Sundays of preparation are like bookends, because the man who judges will not forgive, and the man who forgives will not judge. We talk about, mainly, how we can learn to forgive others. This is mostly from us knowing ourselves. This skill is not optional, because our Lord said "if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses".

A personal note: I get very little feedback about my homilies, but this one "felt good", and later I was told by someone whose opinion I trust that this was one of my best homilies

More homilies on the Sunday of Forgiveness are HERE

MANY homilies on the Sundays of Great Lent are HERE

Homilies on the First Sunday of Great Lent are HERE

Matthew 6:14-21 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.


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A prayer is a promise. From the Great Canon

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012


Spotless Mother of God, only all-hymned Virgin, pray intensely that we may be saved. (Great Canon, Ode 2, Clean Wed, Theotokion)

 

When chanting this verse from the Great Canon tonight, which shows the confidence we have in the intercession of the Mother of God, I trembled a little. When a reasonable person asks for something, they know there is an obligation placed upon them. If we ask the all pure one to pray intensely, we must also attempt in our feeble way to pray intensely. Her prayers are powerful, but God is not pleased with the lazy.

The Most Holy Theotokos indeed will pray intensely to her Son, and we should do no less, otherwise we are liars and hypocrites. We are liars because we are breaking the tacit promise of this prayer, and hypocrites because the All-Holy will be praying that we be helped to be made pure by her Son, and to ask for help but give no assistance to the helper is to be a lazy hypocrite.

 

O Lord, Lord, help me to pray intensely!

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2012     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

This article is at:

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http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2012-03-01+the-great-canon+a-prayer-is-a-promise+spotless-mother-of-god-only-all-hymned-virgin-pray-intensely-that-we-may-be-saved.doc

 

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Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (seraphim@orthodox.net)

 

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