Sermons from St. Mary Church

On the Sunday of Thomas

May 12, 2024 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
Have you ever noticed how before the explosion of Pentecost, everything is still quiet and hidden? Let me explain. We exist in a liminal time, an 'in-between' time. In between the poles of creation and the kingdom of heaven, and right now between the time of Pascha and Pentecost. 
 

The Kingdom is Within

April 29, 2024 - by Dn. James Wilcox
From the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus consistently told those to whom he ministered that God’s Kingdom is NOT of this world. Perhaps most striking is the moment Jesus was lead into the desert to be tempted by Satan following a 40-day period of fasting. After being lead to the top of a mountain, the adversary shows Him all the kingdoms of the world shining in their glory. And very slyly, Satan leans in and whispers to Jesus, I will give you all this….'if only you bow down and worship me.'
 

The Life of St. Mary of Egypt

April 21, 2024 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
Last week, Father Anthony called us to exchange our broken brains for hearts that are transformed. This is exactly what St. Mary did. She recognized her own sickness and her need to be healed. She followed the path of humility, obedience, and grace. She went from being a monster, and an apparition, to Zosima’s inspiration.
 

The Authentic Person

April 18, 2024 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Interestingly, the last rung of the Divine Ladder is Love. That is why Jesus talked about Love so often and why I preach about it nearly every Sunday. God is Love, the inescapable power which accompanies us through all the steps of life and Love is also the endpoint of the eternal journey. All resistance to Love is sinful because it obscures the Truth. If Lent is about anything, it is about connecting more deeply with the Lord, with our neighbors and ourselves, not for ourselves alone, but for the life of the world.
 

Why the Crosses around our Neck?

April 07, 2024 - by Dimitri Newman
The Church has set the third Sunday of Lent as the Veneration of the Cross. It stands in the very middle of lent as a reminder of why we are struggling through this period. It stands in the middle as a tree, offering its shade, a staff and support to help us through, to encourage us along the way. It is a promise that our small suffering that we are willingly taking on will be of spiritual benefit for us. 
 

Cultivating Creative Listening: Homily on the Sunday of Gregory Palamas

March 31, 2024 - by Claire Koen, PhD Candidate
Today, on the Sunday of Gregory Palamas, we remember this great saint and his defense of hesychastic prayer and theology, and we reflect on how his teachings illuminate for us the process of drawing ever closer to both God and neighbor.
 

Forgive and Remember

March 17, 2024 - by Sarah Byrne-Martelli
I suggest we try to forgive and remember. Not to remember the hurt, but to remember what’s involved in the process of healing. To remember how far we’ve come. To remember that we can do the hard work. To remember the power of forgiveness keeps us centered in our faith.
 

The Mercy of Judgement

March 10, 2024 - by Sarah Riccardi-Swartz
The criteria for the Last Judgement should not evoke fear for us but rather become the guidebook by which we live our lives—not because we fear judgement but because we love.
 

How does one become a Christian?

March 03, 2024 - by Teva Regule
This parable is not just a story of three strangers. It is a story of us.  As the younger brother, the Church gives us the sacrament of confession to free us from our sins and get back on the path towards God. As the older brother, the Church gives us the sacrament of Unction to heal what ails us. The Church gives us the opportunity to forgive others every Sunday with the Exchange of Peace and, as we approach Great Lent, with the rite of forgiveness at Forgiveness Vespers. 
 

The Opposite of Faith

February 25, 2024 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The Publican is representative of those who actually have a clue, at least enough to know that they are undeserving of receiving anything from God. You see, no one is deserving and the good news is that you don't have to be. Worthiness is not the issue. Openness is the issue. The Publican was unworthy, and yet his humility saved him, because he was open to God in his humility. He knew more about himself than the Pharisee did, that's for sure. Humility is openness to God.
 

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.
 

Symeon and Zaccaeus - A Tale of Two Men

February 04, 2024 - by Dimitri Newman
We see here the story of two very different men. Symeon was a good and righteous man, guided by the Holy Spirit. Zaccaeus was a bad man, who stole from his people and became rich by doing so. Yet, in the end both see salvation in Jesus Christ.
 

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.
 

Lazaros and the Rich Man

November 05, 2023 - by Dimitri Newman
If we wish to cultivate a love of God and union with him, then the preparation begins in this life. That is not to say that our souls are static in the afterlife, but generally, we will continue to love in the next life, what we have loved in this one.
 

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.