Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Even the Best Sailor Can Drift Off-Course

A skilled sailor would never think to leave port without a compass and sea charts to guide his journey. Likewise, we should never think of embarking upon our journey of Great Lent without our compass – the Church – and our charts – the Holy Scriptures – to guide us. It is even worse if a sailor places his trust in a broken compass or outdated charts.

As we complete second week of our Great Lenten journey, the Church calls our attention to the warning of Saint Paul. “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.” (Hebrews 2.1) Saint Paul is warning us to beware even the slightest departure from the true path, outline by God, and confirmed by His Apostles and the Church. If a sailor takes his eyes off his path, just for a moment, he begins to drift off course. The sooner he realizes he is drifting and resets his course, the sooner he is out of danger of never reaching his destination.

Our annual Great Lenten journey is an excellent opportunity to reset our course, using the Church as our compass, and focus our attention on Christ and His Holy Resurrection. If you have drifted off course, even just a little, this is your chance to get back on course. The urgency is real! “How shall be escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2.3)

The Church has been given to us as a gift from God to lead us in our journey to heaven. Great Lent has been given to us as a gift from the Church to guide us back “on-course” through prayer, fasting, works of charity, reading the Holy Scriptures, attending Holy Confession and receiving Holy Communion. Anything else that we might use to guide our way (as provided by “the world”) would be as foolish as a sailor using a broken compass or outdated charts.

The Love of God is Revealed in His Holy Passion

Each year we gather in the Church during Holy Week with candles in our hands, our eyes straining to read in the dim light of a darkened Church, witnessing the Holy Passion of Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. Many times we may stop to consider just what impact Jesus Christ has had on the world. The triumph of Pascha, as proclaimed in the great Pascha Hymn, Christ is Risen Χριστός Ανέστη, expresses the ultimate victory of God’s love.
Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν, θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας, καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι, ζωὴν χαρισάμενος.

Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, He has granted life.
The love of God is expressed in His willingness to lower Himself, become one of us mere human beings, live as one of us, among us, to lead us to be reunited to Himself. In this loving act, He was betrayed, beaten, lied about, mocked, abandoned by many, and ultimately put to death by the State, never once raising His hand against another, never once forcing anyone to follow Him, never once disrespecting the freedom of each human being to respond to His invitation to “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4.19)
During the Bridegroom Services, we are faced with the “Extreme Humility” of Christ, crucified in the tomb, as a witness of His saving love for us. During the Lamentations Service of Holy Friday evening, we follow Jesus Christ’s journey into the darkness of Hades to rescue human beings from death. From the Cross, Jesus teaches the gift of forgiveness when He says, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23.34)
The love that God reveals to us, my dear brothers and sisters, is a love of gentleness and forgiveness, it is a love of humility and sacrifice, and it is a love of freedom. It is Divine Love. The Divine Love of God, known as AGAPE, changed the world 2,000 years ago from the humble place of an oppressed people. The love of God, working in the hearts of Christians, shined in a world suppressed by darkness and sin. The love of God, led the so-called “civilized world” to abandon sin and embrace God. And it can do so again.
The world needs the love of God more now than ever in our lifetime. As the world continues to struggle against God, we will more and more find ourselves an oppressed people like the Christians of ancient days. Now is when we must reveal the love of God to the world, never raising our hands against another, never forcing anyone to follow Him, and never disrespecting the freedom of others to respond (or not) to His invitation. This is the example that God reveals to us in His Passion. And ONLY this AGAPE will again lead the world to abandon darkness and embrace God.

Monday, March 18, 2013

What will it take?

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6.19-21)


Having just heard these words from our Lord during yesterday’s Divine Liturgy, it comes at a significant time, the beginning of Great Lent, as we are encouraged by the Church to place our emphasis on God. I just have one question…..


“How many times will we have to read stories like this before we stop ignoring our Lord’s words?”

Ready or Not, Here Comes Lent!

On the day before Great and Holy Lent begins, Forgiveness Sunday, the Church offers us one final pep talk to prepare us for the Great Fast.  The success of our Lenten journey depends upon forgiveness, proper fasting, and placing the needs of others above ourselves. The time for preparation has past and now we are ready to make the most of our Lenten journey to Pascha.



This Week’s Sermon also airs DAILY AT 12NOON and 7pm Eastern on Transfiguration Radio at or our mobile player at

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ready…Get Set….GO!

The third Sunday of the Triodion, known as Judgment Sunday, is focused on putting our faith into action. If you recall, as a preparation for Great Lent, we have been focusing on a journey of 1) Spiritual Self-Examination (Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee) 2) Coming to our Senses and CHOOSING to return to the Father (Sunday of the Prodigal Son) and this week, 3) Putting our faith into action.

Saint James reminds us, “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2.26) Nothing makes that more clear than the Gospel reading about two groups of believers for Judgment Sunday. “I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me a drink…..I was hungry and you gave me no food…” etc. (Matthew 25.31-46). Both groups believe in Christ and both are His disciples. But only one group put that faith into action.

We have been discussing that state of affairs of our faith in Christ over the past few weeks. We have been challenged to consider our weakness and our sinfulness. Now the Church is calling us not just to admit that we need to repent and live our life for Christ. The Church (and therefore God) is calling us to actually LIVE it in the way we treat others.

When you consider how you are living your life for Christ, please consider this: It wasn’t the sinners that were condemned. They repented! It was those who did nothing with their faith that were condemned. It was those who chose NOT to see Christ in others that were faced with eternal suffering. Great Lent is just one week away and it is your chance to put your faith into action this year and live your Greek Orthodox Life as it if it really means something to you.

Ready……..Get Set……GO!

Monday, March 4, 2013

It’s Time to Come to Your Senses!

When the Prodigal Son was able to put aside his pride and “come to himself,” and return to his father, he was not only forgiven by his father, he was fully restored to his original place. When we can come to our senses and return to God He will not only forgive us, He will run and join us on the road and walk with us as we journey back to His House. The Triodion is a time for reflection and repentance and restoration by God. Engage the journey!



This Week’s Sermon also airs DAILY AT 12NOON and 7pm Eastern on Transfiguration Radio at or our mobile player at