Why do we follow the Golden Rule? It is because of love. God loves, and so we, being made in the image of God, in attaining His likeness, love. There are stories of extravagant love in the lives of the saints. We explain why and how we read the lives of the saints, and then tell some of these stories of extravagant love, including events that have happened in our time. Some of the saints mentioned are St Paulinus, St Thomais of Lesvos, St Paisios of Mount Athos, and St. Irene Myrtidiotissa.
Fr. Seraphim Holland shares the difference between the responses of Zacharias when he was told that he and his wife would bear John the Baptist, and Mary the Theotokos, when she was told that she would bear Jesus Christ as a virgin. In the midst of explaining this, we see it is clear that we should never look for a sign, and we also talk about deception and how we should react when we see an angel, and that Satan can never perfectly mimic holiness. There is one personal anecdote at the end...
The Great Catch of Fish describes daily temptations that a Christian encounters, if he reads the story spiritually. This is a learned skill, and all one must do to obtain it is read, and pray and struggle to live the Christian life. We discuss several life lessons from this story, including how to deal with doubt, despondency, fatigue, sorrow - anything.
The Readings on the Sunday after the Exaltation of the Cross are all about following Christ. Fr Nicholas Park discusses exactly what this is, and how we must do it, and why the world hates it. In so doing, he conducts a primer on basic Christological concepts, and answers the important question: "Why is the way of Christ the way of the Cross?"
Fr. Seraphim Holland discusses 1 Corinthians 1:18-24, read on the day of the Exaltation of the Cross. He explains why the world sees the way of the cross as foolish, and also describe how a Christian will “preach Christ crucified” – this is not so much with words as by fulfilling the Christian dogma of giving up our life for another.
Fr. Seraphim Holland shares how the cross and baptism are linked. One cannot talk about one without the other. In the epistle today, the Apostle Paul shows this link. We also talk about what glorying in the cross is, and what he means when he says: "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" and "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." All of us must also glory in the cross, and bear these...
Fr. Seraphim Holland looks at the hymns from Vespers for the Nativity of the Theotokos, which are especially about the theme of barrenness becoming fruitfulness. There are actually three ways in which the birth of the Theotokos was or began the process of barrenness becoming fruitfulness.
Fr. Seraphim Holland shares that the most important teaching of the Parable of the Vineyard is that life is bearing fruit. The epistle of St Paul to the Romans that is appointed today, for the Martyr Mamas, teaches what this fruit is – to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
The young ruler who asked Jesus the question: “What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” asked the wrong question. We must know the right questions to ask and how to answer those questions. The most important questions are about our identity and purpose. The Gospel and the Epistle today answer these questions.
Fr. Seraphim Holland shares that we have an enormous gift and privilege: to be able to participate in and to facilitate the grace of God. We look at the feeding of the 5000 and the command of the Lord Jesus Christ to his disciples that they feed the multitude in this context. Herein lies the key to triumphal Christian living.
When the disciples asked the Lord why they could not cast out the demon from the lunatic boy, he answered it was because of their unbelief. But as is always the case, He answered with much more than that fact. He taught us how to have belief. It is through action which is based on our faith, and prayer and fasting.
Fr. Seraphim Holland shares about the life of St. Panteleimon. In a good heart, grace will never be denied. St. Panteleimon's mother was Christian and his father pagan, and he told him about the faith but then she died and his father deeply educated him in pagan ways. But grace cannot be denied. He had a good heart, and grace will always find a way in a good heart. There are many examples in the life of the great martyr Panteleimon in which things were not done quite "correctly" but grace...
The feast of Transfiguration, the “Summer Pascha,” shows us our future. Because we have seen our future and indeed will also be eyewitnesses of the majesty of God, we must live differently in present. There is a rule of thumb for life. The Apostle Peter, in his reminisces shortly before his death by crucifixion teaches us, as one who was an eyewitness of the majesty of Jesus Christ about this rule of life.
Fr. Seraphim Holland preaches from Sunday's Gospel reading, Jesus told the paralytic that he was healed "according to his faith..." What is faith? What is it based on? How do we increase it? The answers are in St. Paul’s epistle to the Romans 15:1-7
During two prison visits on the 2nd day of the Dormition fast, Fr. Seraphim Holland sang the Small Pareklesis and preached on the Gospel from Luke appointed for it, about the Theotokos and holiness. Christians should pursue holiness. It is the entire goal of our life, because God is Holy. We discuss the difference in the understanding of what salvation is for an Orthodox Christian vs. other Christian faiths, and about the pursuit of holiness and how the Theotokos is an example of holiness,...