There Are Only Enlightened Actions

June 07, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
At every theophany from the creation to Pentecost, the Holy Spirit appears in ungraspable forms: wind, fire, smoke, earthquake. Even the famous dove at the Lord’s baptism is not a tangible, winged creature. He descended 'in the likeness of a dove.' It is impossible to cling to any of these forms. You cannot hold wind, or smoke, or fire, or the movement of the earth. The Holy Spirit is free, like the wind. We are to become free, just like the Spirit. To be free, we must let go of our attachments.

The God Who Is and We Who Are

May 25, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The Gospel reading today is called the Farewell Prayer and comes at the end of the Lord’s discourse to his apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper and is called the Farewell Discourse. The Farewell Discourse is punctuated several times by a reiteration of what is called the Lord’s 'New Commandment': 'Love one another as I have loved you.' The 'new' part of that commandment is not 'love one another.' There was nothing 'new' about that. The 'new' part was the how of it. 'As I have loved you.' That was new.

God in Disguises: Sunday of the Samaritan Woman

May 10, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Today Christ meets the Samaritan Woman and sees in her the icon of himself. She is one of the very least of the brethren and, as we know, he and the least of the brethren are one. Could it be that Christ saw himself in her?

The Cure Called Compassion

May 04, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Curiosity and compassion brought healing to the Paralytic. They are companions. 'Do you want to be healed,' Jesus asked. Divine curiosity. Although God knows all things about us he does not force us to reveal them. That is why Jesus asked questions. Not to force information out of a person, but as an invitation to a dialogue that often led to healing and transformation.

Touching Wounds, His and Ours

April 19, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
I have not always understood Thomas. I think there are several reasons two of them being that I did not want to acknowledge that I am like him, skeptical and often unbelieving and secondly, I did not like the idea of touching wounds. I recoiled at the mention of Thomas 'placing his finger in the mark of the nails.' And I was even more repulsed by the idea of touching my own wounds.

On the Service of Holy Unction

April 08, 2015 - by David Vermette
This year, as catechist emeritus, I’d like to take a catechetical view of this service. That’s a fancy way of saying that I’d like to look at it from the standpoint of what we can learn about it and from it. Traditionally, this service is offered by seven priests. We just heard seven epistle and seven gospel readings. In some communities seven candles are placed on the table behind me, and one candle is lit after each Gospel reading. Why seven?

The Message of the Suffering Servant

April 05, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The most popular reading material in first century Palestine was the Book of Daniel with all its apocalyptic language and imagery. The brutality of the Roman Empire drove the people to long for a Messiah that would destroy the Empire and restore the Kingdom of David. It is not hard to see why the crowd in Jerusalem was so excited when they heard that Jesus raised Lazarus. The cruelty of Rome was extreme. Surely this man who could raise the dead would be the one to destroy Rome.

Reflections on Lazarus Saturday - “Lazarus, Come Out!”

April 04, 2015 - by Teva Regule
These three words summarize the feast that we celebrate today. They point to the raising of Lazarus from the dead and are a harbinger of Jesus' own death and resurrection, foreshadowing the in breaking of God’s reign into history. We believe they also prefigure our own resurrection.

Holy Saturday - Praise and Hope

March 29, 2015 - by Melissa Nassiff
The Lamentations Service which we celebrate on Friday evening is actually the matins of Holy Saturday, sung on Friday 'in anticipation.' What we focus on in this service is Christ's death and His descent into Hades, which began on the cross on Holy Friday. But even though it is about his death, the service is really not about sadness and lamenting; it's a service of praise for what Christ has done by his death, and hope for our own life after death. Praise and Hope are the themes of Holy Saturday.

Reflections on Great and Holy Friday: The Cross of Christ and the Wise Thief’s Confession

March 23, 2015 - by Linda Arnold and Maggie Rodriguez
We, the beloved, matter. All creation matters. What Christ has done He did because we matter! Let us wait a while with the dying One. Let us not rush to Pascha. But after a time, when we have lamented, when we have come to our senses, when we have let go, when we have owned our stuff and given Him all the parts of ourselves, when through loss and suffering we are stripped of all our fantasies and illusions, let us go into the bright and dawning new day of Pascha.

Humility and Offering: Holy Thursday

March 15, 2015 - by Andrea Popa
While the Holy Thursday shared meal is commonly known as the Last Supper, I would like to consider it also being the Last Lesson of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the calm before the storm. While the disciples were going about the details of their daily lives, Christ knew this would be the last quiet time of teaching before the events leading to his death began to unfold.

Healing and Forgiveness: Holy Unction

March 08, 2015 - by Sarah Byrne-Martelli
The Sacrament of Unction may be celebrated at any time for the healing of the sick. It is believed that Unction was added to Holy Week, so that those in need of healing and forgiveness would be received back into the Church. It is an opportunity to be reconciled with ourselves and our community in preparation for Pascha.

Coming Closer: Bridegroom Matins

March 01, 2015 - by Stephani Nur Colby
Holy Week is in itself a meditation, a time set apart for us to draw closer to our Lord in a more intimate and powerful way as we follow Him on His lonely, terrifying, beautiful, and glorious road. Today we will be taking a look at the Bridegroom Matins that occur on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday evenings of Holy Week.

The Walls of the House

February 01, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
I believe that the parable of the Pharisee and Publican is, on a deeper level, not about two different men, but that each character represents two different parts of most of us. Both are finger-pointers with different objects of focus. The Pharisee on others, the Publican on himself. Who of us is not capable of both?

The God Who Is Here

January 18, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
We see in today’s Gospel of the Ten Lepers three things that are pivotal to Orthodoxy’s world-view. One: that the light of God shines everywhere for all. Two: that God does not pick and choose who receives his love and who does not. Thirdly: that the human person is a mystery and that all true pastoral care respects that mystery absolutely.

On the Sunday Before Theophany

January 01, 1970 - by Bishop John
In the icons of St. John the Baptist, we sometimes see him depicted with angel's wings. It's not that we think that St. John was an angel, but he was certainly a messenger of God that showed us that what was coming was even a more intimate and greater relationship and ability to be with God than we had before.

Radical Forgiveness

January 01, 1970 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Today we are reminded that we must be forgiving. Forgiveness is a radical thing indeed! He asks us to forgive when it is easy and when it is not. He asks us to forgive our love ones and also our enemies. He asks us to turn aside from all thoughts of anger and revenge and take the highest possible road, the narrow road of absolute, unconditional love.