Sermons from St. Mary Church
The Point of It All Is Joy
April 30, 2023 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Fear divides. Love unites. Courage was the glue that united their fear and love for the single purpose of doing what needed to be done revealing a direct path to the Empty Tomb in spite of the dangers they might encounter.
Embracing Our Doubt
April 23, 2023 - by Dn. James Wilcox
When someone comes to preach a message, make a claim, or tell a godly tale in the name of Christ, we should - like Thomas - always demand to see the marks of Christ on that person who claims to be speaking in God’s name, before we give ear to what it is they are preaching. To do so is to carry with you a good and healthy measure of skepticism. When Thomas said I will not believe until see the mark of the nails, and until place my hand in his side, he was simply doing what was properly Orthodox in the purest sense… he wanted to ensure that it was truly the risen Christ before him, and not some impostor claiming to be so.
Renewing our Baptismal Vows
April 09, 2023 - by Dn. James Wilcox
All of us stand here today with our palms raised aloft, just as the ancient Israelites did when Jesus strode in before them. And those people who praised him with Palm branches are same ones who cried out for him to be killed only days later. Those who cried 'Hosanna' on this day, were the same who shouted 'Crucify him' on the next. And they did this because Jesus didn’t match their expectation of who they thought the Christ should be. But it isn’t up to us to say who the Christ should be. The Christ simply IS. It is only left to us to decide if we wish to follow.
Following Christ Through Cities and Deserts
March 19, 2023 - by Cassandra Chamallas
Very few of us will be called to work out our salvation in the desert. Instead, we will follow Christ’s calling in cities and suburbs, often surrounded by comfort and convenience. We will do so each with our own crosses, our own trials and tribulations, and tempted by messages that making more money, having nicer possessions, gaining more earthly glory will make our lives better, easier.
Rise Up and Walk
March 12, 2023 - by Andrea Popa
Each of us today and during this season of Lent is entering this place of worship, entering Christ’s home - either through the front door or breaking through the roof to gain access. And as we draw near, whether of our own accord or carried along by others, Christ sees us for all we are – our paralysis to act, our physical, spiritual and emotional limitations. In the humility of that 'aha' interaction, he opens our eyes to know that we are already children of God.
Follow Me ... Come and See
March 05, 2023 - by Dr. Teva Regule, M.Div., Ph. D.
This Gospel passage is read for us on the first Sunday of Lent as it speaks to our Christian journey - our walk with Christ. It is an invitation for us to follow Christ and begin our own pilgrimage to the Kingdom. To become more God-like is the telos or purpose of our journey.
On Forgiveness Sunday
February 26, 2023 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
Discipline and asceticism can help us master the flesh, and fasting fits the mind for devotion and sets an example for simplicity. So, Jesus counsels measured asceticism. Fasting can be secret and joyful – just like giving for charity. As a violinist is disciplined by the rapture of music, so too can we be disciplined in gladness for Christ and love for God. So Christian discipline is positive and radiant, lowly in spirit and full of joy.
Metaphors of the Last Judgment
February 19, 2023 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Jesus tells us what matters most to God. It is simple. Not obscure, very concrete. He wants us to care about what God cares about. The Lord gives us a short list: feed the poor, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison, and welcome strangers. It is meant to cover all those in distress whatever might be the cause.
Awakening from Exile
February 12, 2023 - by Dn. James Wilcox
We go about chasing after some thing, or perhaps after some person, that will make us feel better about ourselves. And we chase after it like the Prodigal, until we bottom out, see ourselves as failures, and let the cycle pick up all over again — chasing after something new to make us feel better about ourselves. The question is, will we truly awaken like the Prodigal and return from the exile of our false nature and learn who we truly are?
The Interplay of Darkness and Light
February 05, 2023 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Without love, we are nothing. Without humility the narrow gate closes. The Pharisee defended himself with a cloak of false righteousness, hiding his narcissism behind his robes and bombasity. It was as if he were saying to God, 'My righteousness makes your mercy (and you) unnecessary. Pay attention to that sinner over there. Nothing to see here. I do not really need you after all!'
The Canaanite Woman
January 29, 2023 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
Jesus encounters this mother’s pain and heals her daughter. He acted with love. And so, begins a magnificent adventure of the early church into the world of the gentiles. She who hoped for a great thing, who believed that Jesus could save her child, opened up the kingdom of heaven for us all.
Darkness Vanishes at the Appearance of God
January 08, 2023 - by Dn. James Wilcox
Christ comes to us in the breaking of the bread - our Eucharistic offering - and we consume His body. And once we’ve consumed the body, like the disciples at Emmaus, Christ disappears - or departs - and we become His body. And what happens after we become His body? We too also depart. We 'depart in peace' and we go out into the world as witnesses to the light of Christ. Which is exactly what Christ does in today’s Gospel passage.
Jesus in the Temple
January 01, 2023 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
In today’s gospel, Jesus was not teaching, but rather was listening and asking questions. The young Jesus appears with eagerness, an open mind, and simplicity of spirit. The gospel says that Jesus increased in wisdom and understanding which is perhaps strange for one who is already fully God. Fully God and fully man. What a mystery! Jesus is one with God the Father, but he is still growing and learning.
The Scandals of Men and the Work of God
December 18, 2022 - by Dn. James Wilcox
Remember, that our salvation is an inside job, and an inner working of the heart away from the selfishness of ego, and toward the self-LESS-ness of that person in imitation of Jesus Christ, who gave Himself up on behalf of all people! You can’t get more selfless than that. Thus, a heart transformed by the Holy Spirit and awakened in the likeness of Christ produces a natural morality that radiates outward.
Inner Stillness Amidst Inner Turmoil
November 28, 2022 - by Dn. James Wilcox
It’s good for us to remember that, truly, the only form of human perfection we know of in our faith was not a monk. It was a woman! And this woman whom we celebrate today was, in fact, a human being who suffered pangs of emotion just as all of us do.
The Good Samaritan
November 13, 2022 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
How can love be a requirement, or a law? Mustn’t it be voluntary? Love is to desire for the well-being of our enemies. Love moves in three directions: from God to us, from us to God, and toward each other. We can love God only because he first loved us. We are only able to love our neighbor because Christ loved us first, by giving his life for us.
November 06, 2022 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Often our wounds are hidden. We do not want to acknowledge them. We fear the underlying causes of our anxiety and distress and think by burying them in our subconscious they will go away and not trouble us. This is never true. What is hidden will be made known eventually.
The Chasm We Fix In Our Hearts
October 30, 2022 - by Dn. James Wilcox
The Rich Man embraced his egotistical pride, while refusing to embrace the love of God as revealed in the image of God present in the outcast of this parable — of which our Lord tells us elsewhere 'as you’ve done it to one of the least of these my brethren, so you did it unto me.' For a person to reject the love of God as it exists in the other, is to cast ourselves into darkness, such that the true love of God when it is revealed can only be experienced as bitter anguish.
October 30, 2022 - by Charlie Marge
Stewardship means to provide care for God’s church here on earth. We maintain it, we nurture it and we help it grow. We serve and care for the church in whatever way we are able.
The Geresene Demoniac
October 23, 2022 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
In Christ, the power and the love of God is fully expressed. God is Good! And the healed demoniac went home not merely to tell how much God had done for him, but how much He has done for us.