Archive for the ‘Homilies’ Category

Jesus walks on the water and the disciples are afraid. WHY?

Monday, August 6th, 2012

miracle-christ-saving-peter-on-the-water-0

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Synopsis: When Jesus walked on the water to join the disciples in their boat, the Gospel mentioned that they were afraid – twice. When He approached, they thought they saw a spirit and were afraid, and of course, Peter became afraid when he saw the waves and felt the wind, when he was attempting to walk on the waves to Jesus. They *should not* have been afraid! The Lord had just performed a stupendous miracle, and they should have known that He would always protect them. Why were they afraid? It was for the same reasons that we are afraid, or suffer from the common modern version of fear – anxiety.

More homilies on the 9th Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

Matthew 14:22-34 22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. 34 And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.


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“They need not depart; give ye them to eat.” The promise, command and privilege given in the feeding of the five thousand.

Monday, July 30th, 2012

The feeding of the 5000LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: The feeding of the five thousand was a unique miracle, in that our Lord commanded his disciples to participate in it, by telling them: "Give ye them to eat." This is VERY significant. It is both a promise, a command and a privilege that EVERY Christian must obey EVERY day. Obeying this command is the ONLY way to happiness, as it is part of the fulfillment of the Great Commandment, as the fulfilling of that command is accomplished by actively fulfilling the second commandment. The miracle shows us that no matter what our circumstances are, "giving them to eat " will always be aided by God, and will result in an abundance. We may not feel this abundance until later, but is certainly will accumulate if we obey the command of the Lord to think of others first before ourselves.

More homilies on the8th Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

Matthew 14:14-22 14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. 15 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. 16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. 17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. 18 He said, Bring them hither to me. 19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. 21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children. 22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.


 

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“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” The Apostle explains how to become strong.

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

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Synopsis: The Apostle Paul usually gives detailed theological arguments in the beginning of his epistles and then admonitions and commands based on these truths. Today he explains immediately why "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves". If we do not understand his lesson we have no idea what Christianity really is. We will see the simple reason for Christian morality.

More homilies on the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

Romans 15:1-7 1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. 3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. 4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.


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“According to your faith be it unto you.” The two blind men teach us how to increase our faith. Matthew 9:27-35

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Gregory William, for whom I pray fervently that he will have true faith! LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: Before Jesus healed the two blind men who had cried out to him MANY times (with the rudiments of the Jesus prayer), He said to them: "According to your faith be it unto you". Remember, since we read the scripture in order to be taught something about ourselves, we MUST apply this saying to ourselves – does it fit us? If we find ourselves to be lacking in faith, or perhaps the fruit of faith – results in things that matter in our lives, then we must find a way to increase our faith. It is reasonable to ask the Lord for this, since the apostles themselves also asked him to increase their faith. Jesus commended several people concerning their faith – including the centurion Syrophenician woman of Canaan, and the woman "who was a sinner". Each adds to the picture of how we can increase our faith. We look at the example of the two blind men, with humility, recognizing that we have weak faith and need to learn from their example.

More homilies on the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

Matthew 9:27-35 27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us. 28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. 29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. 30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. 31 But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country. 32 As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. 33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. 34 But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils. 35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.


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Let love be without dissimulation. A reason for all the rules. Romans 12:6-14. 6th Sunday after Pentecost 2012

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

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Synopsis: St Paul can be hard to read because his theology is so dense. There is a common pattern to his writings however; he presents his theological arguments, and then proceeds to tell us the "rules". We are in a non-dogmatic age, where there is only one rule – one cannot believe, much less proclaim that there are rules! the Christian life is not this way! Our rules are based on our theology, and are summarized by love. In this selection, St Paul gives a lot of rules, and they are summed up by his admonition: "Let love be without dissimulation." He gives us a reason for following moral rules just preceding this selection: " I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.".

More homilies on the 6th Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

Romans 12:6-14 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.


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The Gergesenes demons ask US an important question, and IMPORTANT advice for those who wish to marry, in 2 homilies

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Another "TWO-FER" today, with a homily on one of the most important questions in all of Scripture, asked by an unlikely teacher, and VERY IMPORTANT commentary on selection of a husband or wife, inspired by talk around the campfire at the St Peter the Aleut summer camp.

Exorcism of the Gergesens DemoniacsSynopsis: The exorcism of the Gergesenes demoniacs is an incredible story, with lots of bizarre occurrences: demons confessing Jesus as God and begging Him for mercy, pigs committing mass suicide in the sea, and an entire town coming out to meet Jesus after the miracle. None of this is the most important thing. The demon #39;s question is what you must not miss; it is a question being asked of you every day: "What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God?". We must learn to recognize and answer the questions Scripture asks of us. This passage teaches us, what not to answer in the reactions of the townspeople. They are among the most tragic people in the New Testament, because they went to Hell quietly. Before we are too hasty in our judgment of them, let us compare ourselves to their actions.

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More homilies on the 5th Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

Matthew 8:28-9:1 28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. 29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? 30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. 31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. 32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. 33 And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. 34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts. 1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.


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On the top of "Little Mount Athos", at Possum Kingdom Lake, Graford, TexasSynopsis: At St Peter the Aleut Summer camp, which is at Possum Kingdom Lake (Texas) in July each year, we love to have campfires late at night with the youth and talk about stuff. This year, Fr Cassian Sibley came up with a gem, a quote from his grandfather: "It takes a really, REALLY good man to be better than no man at all". This short talk expands on that quote, which is critical for our youth to understand, or else they may "settle" for a marriage to a man (or woman) who is not suitable for them to save their souls and raise good children. There are reliable ways to make sure this DOES NOT HAPPEN. This is important stuff!

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How should we live? Learn how to think. Romans 6 and the faith of the centurion teach us this. 2 homilies.

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

A TWOFER today: Homilies on the epistle and the Gospel read this past Sunday, the 4th after Pentecost.

Synopsis: Romans Chapter Six is one of the most important chapters of the New Testament. It teaches just about everything that is important: about the effect of the incarnation, baptism, the purpose of life and how to accomplish it, and also something that is very important: how to think about sin. To sin, pure and simple, is to become a slave to unrighteousness, and the end of such things is death. We must learn to consider ourselves slaves to righteousness. It is one … or the other. How can we learn to think AND act in this way?

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Romans 6:18-23 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


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Healing of the centurion's servantSynopsis: The Lord commended the faith of the centurion who had a sick servant. We must live our life the way he lived his, or we will not have faith. The centurion teaches us that faith will not exist without profound humility and obedience, and wonder of wonders, the more humble we become, the more bold and confident we will be in prayer. If you lack faith, attention or assurance in prayer, or God in any ways feels distant to you, you absolutely, positively must learn to have the faith of the centurion.

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Matthew 8:5-13 5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. 8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.



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More homilies on the 4th Sunday after Pentecost are HERE


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Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; to fulfill the command we must control our thoughts! Matthew 6:22-33

Monday, June 25th, 2012

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Synopsis: The Lord never gives us a command that He does not explain and teach how to fulfill. In this selection, He first teaches us how to fulfill the command by teaching about the eye, and desire, and then progresses to rebuke our thoughts and anxieties. These things are obviously related! They both tie in to HOW to fulfill the command "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness".

Matthew 6:22-3 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.


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How to become a Saint. You do want to be a saint, don’t you? Sunday of All Saints, 2012

Monday, June 11th, 2012

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I want them all to become Saints! May God help them! All Saints day, 2012

Synopsis: We are ALL called to be Saints (holy). This is the purpose of Christianity and the church – to guide people towards sanctity and holiness – to become Saints. The scriptures read today are an instruction manual in how to become a saint. It boils down to priorities, the courage to make the effort to hold to them, even when it is difficult (confession) and patience.

More homilies on all Saints day, the 1st Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38; 19:27-30 32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. 30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Hebrews 11:33-12:2 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. 1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.


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“I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you” – learning to read the heart and discriminate between the old and new ways.

Monday, June 4th, 2012

The church decorated with living plants for Pentecost, 2012

The church decorated with living plants for Pentecost, 2012

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Synopsis: The readings for Divine Liturgy on Pentecost give the story of Pentecost and our Lord #39;s prophesy of it. The "take home" for Pentecost is from one of the Vespers readings: "I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 36:26) We can know a lot about Pentecost, but if we do not learn how to discern the old ways, which the heart falls into frequently, from the new ways, we will have learned nothing useful for our salvation. We look into how to learn to discern what is in our hearts, whether it be according to the old, or according to the new. The Holy Spirit will not continue to abide in a heart that does not seek after the new ways. We contrast new and old ways and discuss how to develop the skill to discern between them. This is a critically important subject. This homily is a bit longer than normal, but it is important, and it is difficult to discuss important things, and important skills in 12-15 minutes.

More homilies on the Sunday of Pentecost are HERE

Ezekiel 36:24-28 24 For I will take you from among the Gentiles, and will gather you together out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 And I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness, and I will cleanse you from all your idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit in the midst of you: and I will cause you to walk in my commandments, and to keep my judgments, and do them. 28 And you shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.


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