Archive for the ‘Gospel:Luke’ Category

From thy youth thou didst love Christ…

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Today we celebrate the memory of our Venerable Father Seraphim, the wonderworker of Sarov.

His troparion reads:

From thy youth thou didst love Christ, O blessed one, and ardently desiring to work for Him alone, thou didst struggle in the wilderness with constant prayer and labor; and have acquired love for Christ with compunction of heart, thou didst prove to be the beloved favorite of the Mother of God. Wherefore, we cry to thee: save us by thy prayers, O Seraphim, our holy father!

Like many of the Holy Church’s hymns, this short ode has much to teach us about the Christian life. Notice that St. Seraphim’s love for Christ is mentioned twice. First, he loved Christ "from his youth," and this led him to labor for Christ’s sake. This labor, in turn, brought him to even greater love for Christ, "with compunction of heart." 

Today is Father Seraphim’s name day. May God grant him many, many years!

Dn. Nicholas


Parable of the one hundred sheep Parable of the lost silver coin

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Parable of the one hundred sheep


Parable of the lost silver coin


Commentary on Luke 15:1-10

26th Wednesday after Pentecost

10 Things [1]


1. ”Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,” (Luke 15:1-3)


These parables were directed to the Pharisees and scribes who murmured against him. [2]


Note that the Lord did not rebuke these proud and judgmental men directly, as direct accusations and correction to proud men rarely work. Rather, He humbly directs these parables to them, to teach them to not be vexed over the salvation of sinners [3], and us how to sometimes approach proud sinners, recalcitrant in their sins because of their blinding pride and judgment of others.


2. 4. What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?


The “man” is Jesus Christ, Who in His incarnation, (went) after that which is lost”.


An hundred is a perfect number, consisting of 10 decades. This number represents all of God’s rational creatures, angels and men, as St Cyril of Jerusalem and other fathers teach:


“He says there are a hundred sheep, bringing to a perfect sum the number of rational creatures subject to Him. For the number hundred is perfect, being composed of ten decades. But out of these one has wandered, namely, the race of man which inhabits earth.” [4]


Some say that the hundred sheep are mankind, and the one who has gone astray is a sinner, whom The God-man has come to save, but “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” [5], whereas, the angels in heaven will evermore remain righteous [6].


The ”ninety and nine in the wilderness” are the angels whom the Lord Jesus Christ left in heaven when he came down from heaven (became incarnate). [7]


The “wilderness”, removed from worldly tumult and steeped in stillness and peace, signifies heaven” [8].

3. 5. And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.


This is a beautiful reference to the incarnation. By becoming man, Jesus Christ bore our infirmities in His nature, and made our nature capable of overcoming them.


“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.” (Heb 4:15)


“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” (Mat 8:17)


The image of carrying the fallen nature upon His shoulder is also similar to when the Good Samaritan treated the (nature of) man, by the side of the road:


 “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, (34) And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. (Luke 10:33-34)


4. 6. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.


“He placed the sheep upon his shoulders, for taking man’s nature upon Him he bore our sins. But having found the sheep, he returns home; for our Shepherd having restored man, returns to his heavenly kingdom.” [9]


The “friends and neighbors” are the angels. [10]


5. 7. I say to you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.


Although the primary meaning of the hundred sheep is the combination of angels and men (all of God’s rational creatures), it is very useful to consider for a moment if this number represented all of mankind, both the righteous, and sinners. Of course, this is an absurdity, because there are few that are righteous, and more who follow the broad way, so the numbers would in actuality be reversed, and besides this, no man is righteous without repentance and God’s grace helping him. Nonetheless, let’s think of the 99 as the supposed “righteous”, or better, those who “are righteous in their own sight”, such as the Pharisee in the parable. [11]


St Gregory, in the Catena Aurea, meditates on this very thing:


“But he allows there is more joy in heaven over the converted sinner, than over the just who remain steadfast; for the latter for the most part, not feeling themselves oppressed by the weight of their sins, stand indeed in the way of righteousness, but still do not anxiously sigh after the heavenly country, frequently being slow to perform good works, from their confidence in themselves that they have committed no grievous sins.”


“But, on the other hand, sometimes those who remember certain iniquities that they have committed, being pricked to the heart, from their very grief grow inflamed towards the love of God; and because they consider they have wandered from God, make up for their former losses by the succeeding gains.”


“Greater then is the joy in heaven, just as the leader in battle loves that soldier more who having turned from flight, bravely pursues the enemy, than him who never turned his back and never did a brave act. So the husbandman rather loves that land which after bearing thorns yields abundant fruit, than that which never had thorns, and never gave him a plentiful crop.” [12]


This should encourage all sinners, that is all of us, who must struggle to attain righteousness. Remember also the one who came at the eleventh hour; he received the same reward as those who had been righteous through the heat of the day (for more of their life).[13]

6. 8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbors together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.


Here, the God-man refers to himself as a woman.


A silver coin has an image on it; this represents the image of God that is in man[14].

The woman seek (s) diligently” for the lost coin, whose image has become sullied by the dirt of sin – this is again, a representation of the purpose of the incarnation of the God-man – “to seek out and save that which is lost”


The number ten here also represents the angels and men, as there are nine ranks of angels, and mankind completes the decade[15].


There is profound theology in the symbolism of the candle and the searching of the house. It describes the process of salvation, a difficult one for man, because it disturbs our conscience. Listen to St Gregory:


“The women lighted a candle because the wisdom of God appeared in man. For the candle is a light in an earthen vessel, but the light in an earthen vessel is the Godhead in the flesh. “


“But the candle being lit, it follows, and disturbs the house. Because verily no sooner had his Divinity shone forth through the flesh, than all our consciences were appalled. Which word of disturbance differs not from that which is read in other manuscripts, sweeps, because the corrupt mind if it be not first overthrown through fear, is not cleansed from its habitual faults. But when the house is broken up, the piece of silver is found, for it follows, And seeks diligently till she find it; for truly when the conscience of man is disturbed, the likeness of the Creator is restored in man.”[16]



From St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney


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[1] This document is a list of ten (more or less, there are 3 things I am not good at: organizing and counting!) things about a particular topic. More “Ten Things” topics may be found at They are also posted to the blog of St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texas, called “Redeeming the Time” Look under the category “10things”. Use anything you wish, but please indicate authorship, with the URL.

[2] Blessed Theofylact, Commentary on St Luke, Chrysostom Press. Get these commentaries if you can.

[3] Ibid

[4] From the Catena Aurea, commentary on this passage. This can be found online at and also in the recommended software for PCs, “eSword” ( The quotation is taken from the latter.

[5] Rom 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

[6] Of course, there are fallen angels, whom we also call demons, who once were in heaven but rebelled against God. We do not understand all the ways of the angelic host, but we do understand that angelic rebellion or obedience to God was a permanent act, that angels, because of their nature, will not change. Man, of course, is a changeable creature, and may repent of his sins or choose to sin, and therefore change his relationship to God at any time.

[7] Catena Aurea, St Gregory.

[8] Blessed Theofylact, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, Chrysostom Press. Get these four commentaries!

[9] St Gregory, Catena Aurea

[10] Ibid, Blessed Theofylact., and also St Gregory, Catena Aurea

[11] The Parable of the Publican and Pharisee, read on one of the Sundays before Great Lent: “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:” (Luke 18:9)

[12] Ibid, St Gregory, Catena Aurea

[13] “And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. (10) But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. (11) And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, (12) Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. (13) But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? (14) Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.” (Matthew 20:9-14)

[14] St John Chrysostom, quoted in the Catena Aurea: “But now is added a second parable, in which the race of man is compared to a piece of silver which was lost, by which he shows that we were made according to the royal likeness and image, that is to say, of the most high God”

[15] St Gregory, Catena Aurea

[16] Ibid, St Gregory.

The Golden rule is not the law of attraction, but because we are children of the highest. 19th Sunday. Audio Homily.

Monday, October 19th, 2009

The "Golden Rule" is explained, including a mention of how the world twists this rule into a sort of magical "law of attraction". The REASON for the golden rule and everything we do is because we are "children of the highest".


Luke 6:31-36 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

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The way to Emmaus is the path of the Christian Life. Luke 24:12-25. Matinal Gospel 5

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

This gospel is always read on Bright Tuesday. Here are some thoughts on it from our archives.

 I want to tell you something about this Gospel.  This matinal Gospel is not only a recounting of sacred history; it is also a type or a template for the Christian life.  It is an example of how we should live, and what we should expect!  For spiritual edification, we can look at this story in an allegorical way and glean much benefit from it. 


This story shows very clearly the path of the Christian life.  The two apostles of the 70, on the way to Emmaus, were very disheartened, they were frightened, they were beat down, but they were not without faith.  They did not understand (they did not believe that Christ was risen you know), but in some way they still had faith and the desire to know our Savior and serve Him. 


So, our Lord meets them on the way.  Imagine this picture!  Two disheartened, frightened men are walking in the heat of the day, to a city that is a full day’s journey away, no knowing really what tomorrow would bring, but certainly suspecting that it would bring the point of a sword.  Our Lord comes to them, and speaks to them on the way, and they don’t see Him and don’t know Him.  Their eyes were holden that they could not see Him. 


This is the way that it is for us so many times, brothers and sisters.  We walk, on a long journey on the way, and many times we do not see.  We only know by faith, we only know by our sure convictions, and something that is in our heart that warms us, and we know that we are following the true path.  And, even if we cannot conquer a sin, or don’t know the purpose of this or that, or the reason why something is happening to us or to a loved one, we still walk on the way. is the way that Christ walks.  We must walk with Christ!  We must be in the way in which He walks, just like the apostles, just like the blind men[1].  This is a long way, and the day is indeed far spent before God fully reveals Himself to us.  This will be at the end of the age, but a foretaste of this revealing, a true "piece" of it, as it were, is in the breaking of bread.  Our Lord enlightened His two disciples in the breaking of bread, and they saw Who He was. To this day, he is revealed to us in the breaking of bread, that is the Eucharist, but we realize this distinctly only after we have walked many miles with Him, with faith.


What happened?  The day was far spent, the sun was setting, and they were tired.  It would be a long and dangerous trip back, and there are robbers on the road, and what did they do?  They made haste to go back, taking hours and hours, arriving in the wee hours of the morning, way past midnight, and the other apostles were up, who said He has appeared unto Simon; He is risen.  And they corroborated this with their own testimony. 


The two disciples were Luke, who wrote this gospel, and Cleophas, who was the brother of St. Joseph the Betrothed.  He wrote with conviction, just like St. John wrote, who said "what I say is true."[2]  He wrote this way because he saw, and he believed, and he experienced and he believed.  This seeing and experiencing can only be accomplished when we may a great effort to walk in the heat of the day, struggling against our hot passions. 


This gospel is a deep mine.  We can extract many golden nuggets from it, and they will make us rich, because they will show us how to live.  Even in the midst of what is wrong with us, it shows us how to live.  It shows us what will happen if we follow on that road and on that journey.  It contains historical fact, but more importantly, it contains spiritual fact.  It is what God will do to a man.  He will enlighten him, and make him able to see, over the course of time.  God help us to be on this road until the end of our life, so that we would see, in the end completely and clearly, not in a glass darkly, but face to face, crying "Abba, Father", and being called "friend".  God bless you. 








[1] Cf. Matthew 20:30



[2] Cf. John 19:35, paraphrased.


Publican and Pharisee 2009. Two kinds of people.

Sunday, February 8th, 2009


Luke 18:10-14 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

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2 Sundays before Nativity 2008. the Holy Supper.

Sunday, December 28th, 2008


Homilies related to the Nativity

27th Sun 2008. The Healing Of The Woman With An Infirmity Of Eighteen Years. It is really pretty simple.

Monday, December 22nd, 2008


All Homilies for this Day:
27th Sunday after Pentecost (HTML format)
27th Sunday after Pentecost (Word DOC format)
The Healing Of The Woman With An Infirmity Of Eighteen Years
27th Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
Two Visions Of The Kingdom
Ephesians 6:10-17, Luke 13:10-17
27th Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Healing Of The Woman With An Infirmity Of Eighteen Years
It is really pretty simple.
Luke 13:10-17


Luke 13:10-17 10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. 12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. 13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. 14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. 15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? 16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? 17 And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.

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26th Sunday 2008. the Harvest of the Rich Man. Two kinds of men, and redeeming the time.

Sunday, December 14th, 2008


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Ephesians 5:9-19 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Luke 12:16-21 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.


Other Homilies on this Sunday:
26th Sunday after Pentecost (HTML format)
Harvest Of A Rich Man
26th Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)

26th Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Parable Of The Rich Man Whose Ground Brought Forth Plentifully
An Urgent Question We Must Answer; What Shall I Do
Ephesians 5:9-19, Luke 12:16-21
26th Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Harvest of the Rich Man
Two kinds of men, and redeeming the time.
Ephesians 5:9-19, Luke 12:16-21


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25th Sun after Pentecost 2008. The Good Samaritan. Who is my neighbor?

Sunday, December 7th, 2008


Luke 10:25-37And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. 29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

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Video of yesterday’s sermon, 24th Sun after Pentecost 2008. Who touched me?

Monday, December 1st, 2008