The Gospel reading for the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, which follows the Feast of the Ascension, is from the High Priestly prayer of Jesus Christ, since the counsels were instrumental in protecting the dogmas regarding Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity. This prayer defines salvation in four different ways, and these definitions are also an instruction about how to live.
The healing of the Blind Man, like all of the Sunday Gospels during the Paschal season, important teaching for us - the PROCESS of enlightenment. It is not easy, or automatic. To obtain it, we must supply labor, and courage, and know who we are and what our purpose in life is. God will supply all grace needed as we make mistakes along the way.
Father Nicholas Park, in an exegesis of the encounter of the Samaritan woman with Christ at the well, points out the many things she did which must be examples to us if we are to find salvation. Among them are that, when faced with her sins, she was silent and repentant, she listened and cared about theology, and she put down her water pot.
Today we read in the Gospel that after many heard the Lord Jesus speak about His body and blood, they left Him, saying: "This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" Believing, following and ordering our life by the "hard sayings" of the Scripture is part of that answer to the question we often hear: "How is Orthodoxy different than (fill in the blank?)." We talk about this hard saying and how a person must live in order to follow hard sayings. Simon Peter gives us one of the necessary things...
Fr. Seraphim Holland preaches about the healing of the paralytic at the Sheep Pool. When we read scripture, we must look for certain key phrases and words, that are will teach us something if we read with our heart and not just our eyes. The healing of the paralytic at the sheep spool has for such key phrases that we want to speak of today: “Wilt that be made whole?” “I have no man,” “rise, take up thy bed, and walk,” “thou art made whole: sin no more.”
Fr. Seraphim Holland shares about the healing of the nobleman’s son. This man had enough faith that he believed the Lord when He said that his son would be would be healed. There are other healings that show other amounts of faith, one greater and one lesser. We compare this healing with the healing of the servant of Cornelius the centurion, and also the healing of the daughter of Jairus. The Lord will meet us at the point we are with a faith that we have at as long as we are doing the best...
The story of the Holy Myrrh-bearers is especially about doing what we are able to do. They acted out of love, even though they were overcome with sadness, and because of this, ignorance. If we do what we are able to do (never less!), even if we are not completely correct, God will make us able to do more. This is the story of how a sinful, ignorant human being because enlightened and perfected.
Fr. Seraphim Hollands hares five important points from the Gospel on Thomas Sunday. 1. Show up! 2. God will be there through our doubts/sins/stupidity/etc IF... 3. We must work even when we do not see God. 4. Thomas was the first to declare the two natures of Jesus Christ. 5. The promise of the Holy Spirit.
A homily by Fr Nicholas Park. Both the Epistle and the Gospel today on Bright Saturday have a central teaching: it is not about me, it is always about Jesus Christ. We must always be asking ourselves about the thing we are doing/teaching/desiring/being - is it about me, or is it about Jesus Christ?
The scriptures must be applied! We savor all four of the readings today, and discuss having the mind of Christ, "nice" Jesus (He does not exist in the church), always giving back when given a blessing, the complete and total absence of legalism or formalism in the church, and acquiring moral authority.
Fr. Seraphim Holland shares how the encounter of Jesus with Nicodemus teaches about baptism, the cross, the divinity and humanity of Jesus, and above all, how to think and live spiritually and why this is important. Our exegesis of this very important encounter covers these things, and always focuses on living spiritually. This is an important life skill, and the Gospel of John teaches it more than any other scripture
Fr. Seraphim Holland shares on Bright Wednesday. What will Jesus answer us if we asked him, as Andrew did, "Where are you staying?" We must ask this question and also respond to His answer, "Come and see," in a spiritual way. What is this way? Also: Why are the doors to the altar opened during Bright Week? And why are they closed on Saturday? How is the book of John different than every other book in the bible?
Fr. Seraphim Holland shares that the Resurrectional Gospel from Luke about the encounter of Jesus Christ with two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus is read on Bright Tuesday. He discusses why this is read, even though the Gospel of John is read for almost every other day in the Pascha period, and that this encounter must be like our life. Our hearts must also burn. What is this "burning"?
On Bright Monday, at liturgy, Fr. Seraphim Holland shares some thoughts about the secret to triumphant Christian living which is contained in two lessons from the Paschal hymns. 1. Because of the resurrection, we are headed towards INCORRUPTION, and it is happening in us RIGHT NOW. 2. Even though life is messy, it is happening, RIGHT NOW. Also he explains how the fear of death leads to sin, but believing in the resurrection removes the fear of death, and therefore, sin, and the difference...
Fr. Serphim Holland shares a homily directly after the Resurrectional Gospel of Holy Saturday, proclaimed before the tomb. He looks at a few hymns from the Holy Saturday canon, which shows that the resurrection is happening now, in wounded people, and that Jesus Christ COMPLETELY identifies with wounded people - so to live in the resurrection - NOW - we must identify with Him.
Fr. Seraphim Holland reminds us that many people who praised Jesus when He entered Jerusalem a few days later condemned him, as a hymn from the service teaches: "First they sang in praise of Christ our God with branches, but then the ungrateful Jews seized Him and crucified Him on the cross. But with faith unchanging let us ever honor Him as Benefactor, crying always unto Him: Blessed art Thou that comest to call back Adam." How can we be different than them? It does not just happen by...
Fr. Seraphim Holland compares the life of St. Mary of Egypt with the sinful woman who anointed the Lord’s feet. There is no sin that God will not forgive. The Gospel talks about love that must be present for repentance, and the life of St. Mary shows the process, that it is work, and that we must try harder. Luke 7:36-50
The discussion of the obedience of the Theotokos and how without obedience we have nothing. This is juxtaposed to the statement and lament of the man who had a child who was demon possessed: "Lord I believe, help my unbelief." Before belief is obedience. Before understanding is obedience. Before peace is obedience. We also talk about the Epistle to the Hebrews which discusses the Incarnation, and the scriptural account of the Annunciation. It is impossible to speak of the Theotokos without...
Fr. Seraphim Holland shares the homily on the Sunday of the Exaltation of the Precious Cross. The epistle today exhorts us: "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace". Where does this boldness come from? The Gospel today explains: we must choose to take up our cross and follow Christ. We look at the readings today, and the hymn of the cross that we sing when we make prostrations: "Before Thy Cross, we bow down and worship O master, and Thy holy Resurrection we glorify!" in light...
In the healing of the paralytic, Jesus first forgave the man’s sins. Why did He do it in this order? Why do bad things happen in the world? What is the greatest crisis in the world today? Understanding this healing answers all of those questions and gives us a way we should live. Mark 2:1-12