Sermons from St. Mary Church

The Canaanite Woman

February 18, 2024 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
The underlying context for the Canaanite woman is hope. She is willing to do anything for her daughter, including begging for her because she believes in Jesus' power to heal. Her expectancy – she expects and hopes for great things from God – this is the passport to His kingdom.
 

Grant us the Eyes to See

January 28, 2024 - by Dn. James Wilcox
How do we stamp out the noise that we might recognize God in our midst, and begin to rightly see one another in the image of God? In the first place we must recognize the state we are in. You can’t put out a fire if you keep fueling it, and you can’t stop fueling a fire if you don’t recognize that you’re fueling it. Therefore, we must awaken to the fact that this is the reality we’ve created for ourselves. In Orthodox thought this type of awakening is described as sobriety, nepsis, or wakefulness. It’s quite literally what it is to be woke.
 

The Good News of Jesus Christ

December 31, 2023 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
It was Good News to the hard Roman world. It was Good News to the ghettos and the slums of the Greek and Roman cities. This proclamation lifted men to their feet. It was not just good advice, but good news. John the forerunner prepared the way with a baptism of repentance that required a thoroughgoing change for the forgiveness of sins.
 

Detachment in the Image of God

December 17, 2023 - by Dn. James Wilcox
Each of the invitees in today’s parable was 'locked in' or attached to some other 'thing,' and in such a manner that the gift of God — the good portion — was missed. And so, here is the message we are left with: When Christ stands before us at the end of all things, whatever we have loved a little too much, whatever we have depended on a bit too stridently, whatever we have hoped will define us more definitively, all these will need to be set apart from us and cleansed, that we may be made God’s own more completely.
 

The Rich Fool and His Attachments

November 19, 2023 - by Dn. James Wilcox
The attachments we make in this life, like the rich man in the parable, have a notable effect on our bodies. And what affects the body also affects our very souls. We, therefore, must learn how to detach from our dependencies in this life, for we cannot take them with us into the hereafter, which is one of the points of today’s Gospel lesson. This is the critical mistake of the rich man.
 

The Good Samaritan

November 12, 2023 - by Kyra Limberakis
It’s more than just Christ simply calling us to love and be a kind neighbor. It is Christ calling us to be attentive to the suffering of others through boundless compassion as he models it in the person of the Good Samaritan. His mercy was not bound by race, or religion, or economic status.
 

Regarding Demon Possession

October 24, 2023 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
To fully recognize and understand ourselves is terrifying. Our God demands something that is painful to give up, a radical readjustment, a reorientation, and a new form of discipline that includes forgiveness. Freedom is dangerous and costly. But God can become our companion, our comforter, the source of our strength and peace.
 

Parables for the Voluntarily Self-Blinded

October 15, 2023 - by Dn. James Wilcox
The truth of today’s Parable, however, shows us that the seed which falls on the outside of the good soil - this is the seed that does not take root. Yet, we learn that it is only the seed which falls on the good soil that is taken in and nourished properly, so that the inward journey - the cultivation of the heart — can begin.
 

Love Your Enemies

October 01, 2023 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
Our world is in desperate need of mercy, forgiveness, love, and reconciliation. We are ambassadors of that mercy. In living out the command of Christ to be perfect, we can bring hope, healing, and transformation to all of those around us all, just like St. Seraphim said we would for the Glory of God.
 

The Wood of Salvation: Reflections on the Feast of the Cross

September 14, 2023 - by Teva Regule
The cross, once a symbol of crucifixion and death, was and is now a symbol of resurrection and life. The wood of the cross that Christ touched was transfigured into the Tree of Life.  It is this Tree that now re-connects us to God, reconciling all of humanity to God and showing us the way to life more abundant. 
 

The Cross is The Weapon of Our Peace!

September 10, 2023 - by Dn. James Wilcox
As followers of Jesus, we choose to turn the other cheek, so as to absorb that person’s wrath, and to quell their passion. To take a person’s wrath and to remove it, and transform it is an act of peace … this is the transformative work of the Gospel message! The work of transforming the cosmos lies in our choosing to take up our Cross and to live by it. This is why our feast for the Elevation of the Cross refers to the Cross itself as 'A Weapon of Peace!'
 

Who Then Can Be Saved?

August 27, 2023 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
To be a Christian is to be changed, to become not of this world. We are called to be innocent, in the world, but as sheep among wolves. This is the direction that Jesus is calling the rich young man to, when he asks him to give everything he has to the poor and to follow him. Imagine the possibilities if he had answered the call.
 

Search Me, O God

August 20, 2023 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Although many believe that Christianity calls for a radical separation between the Church and the world the truth is quite different. Christ calls us not to run from, neglect, ignore, and condemn the world. Nor are we instructed by the Lord to build walls and fortresses to protect ourselves from the bad guys. We are called to embrace the world as it is with love and discernment and to look deeply with the eyes of the soul into the infinite richness of divine grace that lies at the heart of all that exists.
 

Transfiguring Our Passions

August 13, 2023 - by Dn. James Wilcox
It is possible for human beings to move away from the misuse of our energies. We can shift our energies away from our 'inner human sufferings' and reorient our souls toward the divine energies of God. This of course is accomplished by focusing less on the satisfaction of our egos, and focusing more on Jesus Christ. And this is exactly what the man does in today’s story. He directs his attention to Christ as Lord, and Jesus, in turn, drives out that to which his son is passionately bound. Christ brings him true healing!
 

The Path of Transfiguration

August 06, 2023 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
We must be willing to enter a new way of life, leaving behind everything that binds us to this fallen world. When we do, we will find ourselves turned upside down and inside out, walking where we have never been before. I often say to people that if we do not recognize where we are, it is quite possible that God is leading us somewhere we have never been.
 

Spiritual Blindness and Healing

July 23, 2023 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
We can see today’s blind men as a metaphor for our own blindness and need for healing. Physical blindness may have been common in Jesus’ time. But inner blindness is a much greater handicap. We can be blind to the meaning of life; we can be blind to the nature of our neighbor’s suffering. We can be Blind to the ongoing dynamic of God’s love in the world.
 

The Christ in Our Midst who Suffers As We Do

July 02, 2023 - by Dn. James Wilcox
But why does God allow the vast amount of suffering we see all around us, and in our personal lives to begin with? One answer I choose to offer is that when we do suffer, we are in the presence of God. For God chose to come to us as a human being who suffers as we do. Christ became human and suffered voluntarily on our behalf that we might understand a little more of what it is to be divine.
 

Living in a Different Light

June 11, 2023 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Today the Lord calls us to reexamine our lives. He does it by calling into question our primary relationships. The ones we take for granted, our family and friends. This leads us to ask other questions.
 

On the Sunday of Pentecost

June 04, 2023 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
To love truth means to pursue it with an earnest, conscientious, and unflagging zeal. It means to be prepared to follow the light of evidence even to the most unwelcome conclusions, to labor to emancipate the mind from prejudice, to resist the current of desire and the influence of the passions, and to be ready, if need be, to exchange calm assurance for all the suffering of a perplexed mind.
 

On Suffering and The Opening of Our Eyes

May 21, 2023 - by Dn. James Wilcox
A god who operates willfully to instigate pain in some, and cause the death of others, while bringing about evil to accomplish his purposes for some perceived good, isn’t really a trustworthy, consistent, or a loving god. And here again, this is not the God reveled through Jesus Christ.