The Parable from a different perspective. How one person can be different types of “soils” throughout their lives. The etymology of the word “peace” in Greek “eirini.” Gospel Reading: Luke 8:5-15
The Lord said this parable: "A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell along the path, and was trodden under foot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew, and yielded a hundredfold." And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. And as for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience." As he said these things, he cried out "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
St Paul speaks about the “Acceptable Time” of preaching the Gospel and the urgency with which apostles preach the good news. The urgency to preach the good news of Jesus Christ in the Orthodox Funeral service. Jesus, like a first responder, runs straight to the crisis of his beloved mankind.
Jesus gives new commandments to His disciples to love their enemies, lend without expecting anything in return, and to be merciful as God is merciful. The impossibility of following these commandments unless we imitate Jesus Himself and depend on His Power and grace. How you can fulfill the commanded by at least hating your enemies a little bit less every day.
What is the “Indiction”? Why does the Orthodox Church New Year begin on September 1st? Jesus begins his mission in Nazareth with the controversial teaching that He fulfills the words of the prophets. The Greek versus the Christian view of time. For Orthodox Christians, the liturgical year immerses the Faithful in the “Acceptable Tear of the Lord.”
Jesus gives His disciples the exact reason for their inability to heal a demon possessed boy: Their lack of faith. In other words, their connection with their Lord was lacking.... they neglected sitting at the Lord’s feet to learn and to be trained as His disciples.
God sanctifies His saints through their endurance. What does holy “endurance” look like? What can putting up with aggravating people and circumstances do for the Christian? Endurance and patience defines the Christian.
The Pharisees “prosecute” Jesus on the grounds that he is a blasphemer. From the Pharisees’ perspective that prosecution goes horribly wrong. Through the divine miracle of healing a man born with no eyes, by fashioning eyes for him, Jesus reveals that His teachings of His divine origin are true. The guileless man born blind is a key witness to Jesus’ divinity.
The Pool at Bethesda gathered a hopeful people as a “proto-Church.” Why is this seemingly non resurrectional Gospel passage placed during the Paschal season? Jesus’ miracles pointed and prepared men and women for His Holy Resurrection. The risen Christ fulfills all miracles.
We Orthodox celebrate the Resurrection as a 40+ fay season so to make the Paschal spirit a way of life. The sublime service of the Myrrh Bearing Women. Why we celebrate the Resurrection at exactly midnight. The Holy Fire of Jerusalem.
Faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the hinge upon which everything turns. Faith in the resurrection is an all or nothing proposition… Either Jesus has risen from the dead and we are saved or he has not and we remain in our sins. Orthodox Christianity teaches that Christ is risen From the dead end by his death has trampled down death and to those in the tombs He is bestowing life!
Many of us struggle with overcoming our pasts. The story of St. Mary of Egypt is one of a bad early life that led to a good adult life. She struggled, with the power of Christ and mentorship of
the Theotokos, to create a new life of constant repentance. Her story of repentance is so powerful, that the Orthodox Church lifts up her life story on the Fifth Sunday of Lent as an example to remember and imitate in our own struggle of repentance that leads to a good life with Christ.
We are blessed to be Orthodox Christians because it is a faith based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, His Disciples, Apostles and saints. Icons are not "idols" because while idols depict figments of imagination, icons depict reality... the reality that Jesus Christ is fully God and man, God among us. The difference between "ancestor worship" and the true veneration/honor of saints. We are blessed because it is in the Orthodox Church that God meets His People, and His People meet their God.
Great Lent is the great search for the "normal life" found only in Christ. What the Church sings about this Sunday's them of the Exile of Adam from Paradise. Why did Adam cry the most bitter tears of all mankind? The true treasure found in waking with God versus the pseudo-treasure that Satan uses to deceive us. How a priest's number one job is to convince everyone that we are already rich in Christ. Lent is the willful entering into a "spiritual desert" in order to strip away all the secondary and tertiary things in our lives so that the essential things can appear to us.
St. Paul addresses the Apostle Timothy on how to be an apostle: Learn what the Church teaches. Teach competent people to teach the Gospel. Be soldier-like in your discipline in doing the work of spreading the Gospel. The example of St. Haralambos.
Our Lord God is good and compassionate. We should never fear to return to Him. We have a God we can admire and love. Gratitude is the reason for the Liturgy. This morning's Gospel passage shows that Repentance is about Two things: 1) Realizing that Jesus is God and has done great things for us, and 2) Return physically to His presence to give thanks. Like the one grateful healed leper, return to Jesus to give thank... making plans to return to be in His physical presence. For Orthodox Christians, this place is in the Church, the Body of Christ, Sunday mornings for Divine Liturgy.
Why do Orthodox Christians call Jesus "the Word"? After His Baptism, Jesus begins his preaching ministry. Jesus saves by words and teachings. He regenerates men's lives by teaching and persuasion. Even his miracles Jesus meant to draw people to his teachings. Jesus' preaching ministry has never ended and never will end, but continues through the ministry of the Church.
The Genealogy of Our Lord. Why the Orthodox Church still reads this passage just before the Christmas Feast. Jesus descends from a real family, warts and all. The Genealogy is a type of creed, a statement of faith.
Jesus gives a parable about worldly entanglements and lame excuses. We live in a land of exile while anticipating the Heavenly Kingdom promised by Jesus Christ. Jesus entered the land of exile in which we live to draw us to paradise. Do not fall in love with exile. How should Christians live in exile?
Jesus does not "work" on the Sabbath when He healed the woman, but did what God does: He cared for His Creation. God created the Sabbath so that we would remember that He liberates His people from Slavery and that it is the Lord Who makes us "holy." The Divine Liturgy is a call to holy rest.
Bartimeaus, the blind beggar healed by Jesus, shows what pure prayer is like. Jesus heard his pure prayer. The blind man shows us that the model of evangelism is simple: share your story of what Jesus has done for you. Spreading good news bears fruit, as seen in how the blind man's story prepared Zaccheus the tax collector to repent before Jesus.
The concept of "a camel going through the eye of a need" as a metaphor for detachment from the world and a maturing faith. The portal to heaven is a narrow door... but Jesus is "THE Door." Why Jesus objected to being called "Good teacher." Did the ruler consider himself "righteous" because of his accumulated wealth? Did he consider that heaven was guaranteed for him?
The Old Testament context of this parable. How the "Prosperity Gospel" fails when we look at the life and teachings of Christ and His Saints. St. Paul calls Christians to live a "worthy life" in Christ. The Law of Moses was meant to gather a stiff-necked, childish people to make them His "People" awaiting the coming of the Messiah.
What a Shock! God's Power and Grace Radically Heals Those Who Stand In Christ's Presence with Faith. Orthodox Christians understand natural phenomena, but use this understanding to be humble and grow closer to God.
Homily on the 4th Sunday of Luke. Parable of the Sower. While Jesus provides everything for us, he cannot cultivate hearts for us. Because Jesus respects our free will, he leaves it to each of us to cultivate our spiritual lives.