July 14, 2013 -
St. Innocent, one of the greatest Russian missionaries who brought the Gospel to Alaska in the 19th century, admitted that his main problem in preaching to the native peoples of Alaska was the terrible witness of his fellow Russians, the fur traders and explorers. When St. Innocent preached the Good News to the native Alaskans, they would ask, “Aren't these other Russian workers Orthodox Christian?
July 07, 2013 -
We have a self-portrait of Jesus. When we keep that in front of our eyes, we will soon learn what it means to follow Jesus and become like Him.
June 30, 2013 -
Before Christ, we live our lives according to our own desires and passions, and follow the influence and ways of the world. Living “in the year of the Lord” implies that something other than ourselves stands at the center of history.
June 23, 2013 -
“To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.," Mother Teresa taught. "To keep the light of Christ aflame within us, we have to keep inviting the Holy Spirit in! We have to keep opening our lives for the Spirit of God to flow freely within us.”
June 16, 2013 -
One of the most precious images we have of God is as our Heavenly Father. Jesus Himself taught His followers to think of “the One who is and was and is to come, the Lord Almighty” as “Our Father” whenever we pray. What a radical image that Christ offered to His disciples – telling them not to think of our All Powerful Creator as a distant God, as someone or something separate and far from us, but to relate with our Maker as our Father!
June 09, 2013 -
"To find yourself, you must offer yourself." This is one off the teachings that 13 students from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, St. Vladimir’s Seminary, St. Tikhon’s Seminary, and Hellenic College, along with my beloved former professor, Fr. Alkiviadis Calivas, and I learned from Archbishop Anastasios during our recent class and trip to Albania.
May 26, 2013 -
Every day I send out a Daily Inspirational Email to around 500 people, which includes a brief Spiritual Meditation, Bible Reading, and Life of a Saint. Recently, I have included a section called “DAILY ACT” challenging people to do some random act of love and kindness which reflects our faith.
May 19, 2013 -
$560 million dollars! That was the jack pot winner of the Powerball Lottery, and someone won the winning ticket yesterday. Imagine winning close to $600 million. What would you do? How would your life change? Would it change for the better? Would it make you happier?
May 05, 2013 -
In some parts of Greece, there is a tradition that the day after Pascha is a day devoted to telling jokes. This tradition came about because they said that during Holy Week God pulled the greatest joke on Satan himself, when Christ willingly accepted to die on the Cross. Satan thought he won - that he had defeated Jesus, that darkness had conquered light, evil had conquered good, and death had conquered life – Satan thought he had won only to find out that when Christ entered the devil’s domain, hades, he could not contain Him.
April 28, 2013 -
One of the greatest accusations ever made against Christians could be summarized by the words of the famous atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, when he said that Christians had no joy; that Christianity was a joyless religion.
April 21, 2013 -
What an unbelievable scene for Boston or anywhere in America? Exploding bombs? A car chase with hand grenades and pipe bombs thrown out the window? A firefight with 200 rounds of gunshots in the middle of Watertown. Terror and fear grip the people as a massive manhunt shuts down an entire city.
March 31, 2013 -
How many of us are weighed down by some past deed that we did? I know people who live in the shadow of terrible mistakes or some bad choices they made 20 years ago, and they still are paralyzed by these hidden sins, or the guilt and shame that came with them. Others have allowed habitual sins, daily bad habits, or serious addictions to control their lives, and have given up hope at ever changing.
March 10, 2013 -
This past week, I attended the funeral of 29 year old Matthew Beland, the son of our parishioner Eric Beland, and then 57 year old David Davis, one of our beloved members who joined our church family five years ago. David died in his sleep, and Matthew died after a brief battle with lymphoma. As I attended these funerals two days in a row, I soberly reflected on how brief our life is, and how unexpected and quick our death can come.
March 03, 2013 -
Do we understand that we have a Heavenly Father whose love is far greater than any sin we can ever commit! Our sins, no matter how great, are as a drop of water compared with the entire ocean of God’s unconditional love. May we always remember this fact, especially when we have fallen away from God. God’s love and goodness is far greater than any sin or evil we can ever commit Although this parable is often called The Prodigal Son, a more accurate title would be the Parable of The Loving Father, since He is the main character in the story! This is the heart of what the Gospel, and Christianity are all about!
February 24, 2013 -
“Better is the person who has sinned, if he knows he has sinned and repents, than the person who has not sinned and thinks himself righteous.”
February 17, 2013 -
I can’t move a mountain, or overcome an obstacle, but no hindrance is greater than God. I can’t, but He can. And He is waiting for us to discover what it means to trust in Him – this great gift of FAITH.
February 10, 2013 -
This past week I was in Atlanta offering a series of talks to a group of 60 clergymen on the topic “Building Up a Healthy Church.” These talks, which are a part of a class I teach at Holy Cross, as well as are based on the mission statement of our Sts. Constantine and Helen Church, highlight the five central characteristics that every Church and all Christians should constantly use to evaluate and cultivate our own spiritual growth.
January 27, 2013 -
This past week, tens of thousands gathered in Washington DC to mark the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v Wade. This annual March for Life draws our nation’s attention not only to the topic of abortion, but also focuses on proclaiming a culture of life instead of death. I realize that this topic is one that can passionately cause division among people, but we followers of Jesus Christ need to soberly and seriously reflect on an issue that takes the lives of 1.4 million babies a year in our own country, or approximately 55 million children since 1973, and which takes the lives of 40-50 million babies every year worldwide!
January 20, 2013 -
Imagine leading two to three million slaves into freedom, while God performs incredible miracles through your hands. You then take these newly freed slaves to Mt. Sinai and receive the Law and Ten Commandments directly from God. You have an intimate relationship with God, where the Lord speaks to you face to face, as a friend. For forty years, you lead these stubborn, hardheaded people through the desert, enduring their complaining and grumbling, while miraculously seeing God feed them daily with manna from heaven. From the time you leave Egypt, through the next forty years, you continuously talk about your destination, the Promised Land, the land of milk and honey. Then, when God sees His people finally ready to journey into the land He promised, you as their leader are only allowed to climb a mountain and see the Promised Land from a distance. You are not allowed, however, to enter into the land yourself, or go with your people!
January 13, 2013 -
How many people have seen the new movie/musical “Les Miserables?” I’d highly recommend seeing the musical, reading the book, and/or seeing the 1998 movie starring Liam Neeson. When I read this book 25 years ago, it became one of my all-time favorites! Then I saw the musical on Broadway and London, and haven’t stopped listening to the music over all these years. This powerful story has inspired countless people, not only because it has a moving plot and incredible music, but because in so many ways it’s a summary of the Gospel. Victor Hugo, the author of the original book, captured the essence of Christianity in its most practical sense by telling the story of a pathetic, broken man, rejected and despised by society, yet redeemed by God’s love and grace in the most unexpected way. And through this redemption, love transforms this miserable person into a Christ-like character. In fact, this story summarizes the lives of some of our most beloved saints – wretched, dejected sinners transformed into icons of Christ through the divine love and grace they encounter from others.
Tuesday of the 10th Week
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July 28, 2013 -
Demons, evil, the dark side, or however we name the forces of Satan, seem very evident in our society. But what about in our own lives? Do we actually believe in demons, in demonic possession, in the force of evil active in our own lives?
July 20, 2013 -
Right now there’s a popular song that I have heard continuously over the past weeks entitled Same Love, which was written on behalf of gay legal rights. The refrain of the song goes, “I can’t change, even if I tried, even if I wanted to, I can’t change”