Sermons from St. Mary Church

The Healing of Thomas

April 15, 2018 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Thomas was deeply wounded by the crucifixion, just as were all the disciples. His questions and doubts arose from feelings of fear, loss and confusion. The parts of him that rose to protect and manage these intense feelings were no doubt on double-duty. His response made perfect sense! We do a grave injustice to Thomas when we fail to acknowledge this.

Palm Sunday: Jesus for the First Time

April 01, 2018 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
There were two processions occurring on Palm Sunday in Jerusalem: the Lord’s entry in humility and lowliness on a donkey, a sign of peace, surrounded by a crowd of peasants and outcasts. The other procession was of military might and imperial authority.

Who Might We Become if We Walk in the Steps of Christ?

March 31, 2018 - by Teva Regule
Today we commemorate the Raising of Lazarus of Bethany, which is celebrated in conjunction with the Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem as a short festal interlude between Lent and Holy Week. Today we are invited to walk to Bethany, tomorrow to Jerusalem. Who might we become if we walk in these steps?"

On the Feast of the Annunciation

March 25, 2018 - by Anna Higgins
So much depends on Mary saying 'Yes' to the angel. This is the fulcrum around which our whole lives are based. This is the moment when she goes from being Mary to being the Theotokos.

On the Icon of the Dormition

March 18, 2018 - by Sarah Byrne-Martelli
Dormition, at its core, is a feast of resurrection. It has clear echoes of Christ’s death, with the three days in the tomb, and the miraculously empty grave. It prefigures our Resurrection through Christ who has trampled down death by death.

On the Icon of the Entry of the Theotokos to the Temple

March 11, 2018 - by Claire Koen
In Mary's entrance into the Temple, humankind is welcomed and affirmed, not through proving themselves worthy, but simply through the recognition, and affirmation of their genuine goodness and potential to cooperate with God in the bringing about of God's reign.

On the Icon of the Nativity of the Theotokos

March 04, 2018 - by Melissa Nassiff
The birth of the Theotokos begins the process of changing this destiny of our separation from God. And Her Son, Jesus Christ, would complete it. In His love for us, God would send His Son, born of Mary, to reverse the permanence of death and give us eternal life.

On the Sunday of Forgiveness

February 18, 2018 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
It is not our choice whether to be saved or not. It is done. It is finished. However, it is our choice whether or not we will choose to come to a knowledge of the truth. In other words, whether or not we will dive deliberately into the experience of what it means to be loved, forgiven, and saved and that comes only through an internal pilgrimage. Lent is a quiet time, a much slower time than is normal for most people. If we choose to acknowledge it, everything that happens directs us to look deeper and to live more deliberately and consciously.

Living in the Present: An Orthodox Perspective

February 10, 2018 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
We are in the midst of a kind of awakening. The sciences, including neuroscience and the quantum sciences, have discovered that there is mystery at the core of the universe. Psychology is being revolutionized by the discovery of the benefits of mindfulness practice in religious people, including prayer and meditation. Even the Orthodox practice called hesychasm is being studied. Classically, our words for the now ubiquitous term 'mindfulness' are 'watchfulness and vigilance,' and nepsis. They mean the same thing and I tend to use them interchangeably. It is wonderful that religion, science, and psychology suddenly are no longer always at war. Metropolitan Zizioulas, I believe, said that religion and science are not at odds with each other at all, they 'coinhere.' I think he is right. This has been an object of interest and research for me for over 20 years.

Welcome to the New World

January 21, 2018 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Zaccheus lived in a world of his own dominated by fear and greed, by hatred and suspicion. He lied and cheated to survive and to prosper at the expense of others. He was hated and despised by his neighbors and he returned the favor. He must have despised himself as well, for only those who do mistreat others. If we do not love ourselves, our true, godly, beautiful self, then we cannot love God or neighbor.

Believing is Seeing

January 14, 2018 - by Sarah Byrne-Martelli
When our eyes are closed, we miss what is right in front of us. When we look elsewhere, with envy or greed or mindless distraction, we miss what is right in front of us. We stare into space, we are scattered, we suffer and blindly fall into sin. Is this how God calls us to live?

The Beginning of the Gospel

December 31, 2017 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The whole life, death, and resurrection was a revelation of Grace. God has filled all things with himself, even death, even the grave. He has baptized all things in the fire of his Compassion. God has taken our burdens on himself. He has set us free from sin, death, and the Evil One. The ringing and eloquent last words of Jesus in John’s Gospel was a resounding and final, 'It is finished.'

The Consciousness of Christ

December 10, 2017 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
It is very important that we begin to consider the two aspects of our faith: one, faith IN Jesus, who he is; and the faith OF Jesus, what moved and motivated him. The Ecumenical Councils were concerned mostly with the first. The Church’s belief in the full divinity and humanity of Jesus was so controversial that it demanded a response. The Seven Councils responded well: he is both fully God and fully man. That is what I mean when I speak of 'faith in Jesus.'

A Place Both Strange and Wonderful

November 26, 2017 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
So, today, the Lord invites the lawyer to experience the nearness of God and of his kingdom and, as we know from our reading, he grew very sad when he heard that in order to experience what Jesus was talking about, he would have to leave behind his attachment to his wealth.

Two Dimensions

November 19, 2017 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The Rich Fool is unaware of this spiritual dimension trapped as he is in his futile search for security. His prime motivation is fear and fear does not exist in the spiritual dimension. He knows only one dimension – that of this fallen world - and thus is a man without faith which is why he puts all his hopes in his earthly possessions.

A Life of Luminous Actions

October 29, 2017 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Professor Jaroslav Pelikan said that the problem with modern theology is that it has lost sight of the Cosmic Christ. True Christianity always rests in the revelation that Christ is Forever and All-Encompassing. The reason we have forgotten him, I believe, is encapsulated in this comment by St. Seraphim of Sarov, 'The other person is my joy.' We do not see. We do not see each other and so we do not see Christ. If we looked deeply with mindful awareness, we would see that he is the One who stares back at us through the eyes of our neighbors.

The Transparent World

October 15, 2017 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The soil of an open heart is ready to receive the seeds of God’s word at all times, for they are always being sown as Jesus says, 'My Father and I are always working.' An open heart is a pure heart, unburdened by attachments to this world, to its anxieties and expectations. An open heart is a mystical heart that longs for union with God that looks for him with expectation and trust, ready to learn, eager to grow.

Compassion Compels Us

October 02, 2017 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
That seems such a huge thing to ask of us: to be as merciful, kind, and compassionate as God himself. Notice that Jesus does not mention being obedient to any law or religion or even a code of morality. He asks only that we be merciful. Why? Because it is not about religion or law or morality, it is about a new way of life governed only by love.

Ego and Humility

September 03, 2017 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
There is always a danger that we will try and use Jesus for our personal gain. You see it all the time on television – Christianity as a way to make money or gain power and notoriety. It is shameful of course and frightening the way so many people fall for it. We must be careful that we do not fall ourselves into such obvious corruption. Those who practice the way of using Christianity for egoic self-interest clearly do not know the Jesus they claim to represent.

The Ultimate Letting Go

August 27, 2017 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The Rich Man could not yet let of his riches. The question is, what 'riches' are we holding onto so tightly that we too could not pass through the eye of a needle and into the kingdom of heaven? I’m not going to try and make a list of all the passages that speak of this. One of them that comes to mind is that we must love God more than father, mother, sister, brother, etc. If you think a little, I’m sure you could come up with several more.