Sermons from St. Mary Church

Image and False Image

September 18, 2016 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Holy Orthodoxy has a vision of human nature than is unrelentingly positive. This vision originates in the biblical reference from Genesis 1:26, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.' Because this is so, to know the truth of who we are, is to know God.

Belief and Faith, Water and Wine

September 12, 2016 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The Christian message is very, very simple. God loves the world. He loves us. Seeing his creation falling into death, he sent his Son, to liberate us from death, from sin, from fear and to grant eternal life to all who believe in this simple Gospel. And he has accomplished in taking on human nature and matter the deification of all things.

Make Peace in Your Heart

August 14, 2016 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Martha is not still and so she misses the obvious presence of God right there in her own living room. She is so concerned about herself, so full of herself and her serving, that she cannot think of anything else. Sometimes it’s just better to order out. Antony De Mello’s has an interesting take on this. Although he speaks specifically about silence the same can be said of stillness for they are closely related.

His Name is Compassion

August 07, 2016 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Mercy is a not just a word, it is a name and a Person. It is closely aligned and inseparable from another word which is also a name and a person – that word is Compassion. It is a name that God gives himself. Let’s read from Exodus 34. In this section Moses has just thrown down and shattered the tablets of the Ten Commandments in anger at his people’s idolatry. Now he recreates them. It is interesting to me that God reveals himself as Compassion at the same time as he blesses the recreation of the tablets of the Law. And then he reveals something greater than the Law. He reveals Himself.

Faith Lets Go

July 31, 2016 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Often in the Gospel stories, when Jesus brings hope, comfort and healing, detractors often show up. Like the scribes in today’s story. See them as representing the know-it-alls and the self-righteous. We all know people like that and sometimes they may even be us. We must be careful not to be like that.

Like a Pure Diamond

July 17, 2016 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
In stark contrast to the horror of the terrorist attack in Nice, we are drawn by Christ to speak of what is true and beautiful about human nature and about the Gospel of peace and compassion. We cannot allow ourselves to forget the Lord’s truth especially in the face of the truly demonic. If we do, then the light in us may flicker in the face of despair, although we are assured by the Beloved Apostle that it can never be extinguished.

Enlightened Living

July 11, 2016 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
What does it mean to have a sound eye? If our eyes are clouded with self-interest, by a desire for worldly things, like wealth and power, and are not focused on God alone, then our eyes are not sound, and we will be full of darkness. Jesus calls us to single-mindedness and to a simplicity of life that will set us free.

Not Religion, But Life

July 04, 2016 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
In order to grow more and more into the likeness of God, we must constantly be changing. Growth implies change. In this Gospel we see the birth of Christian discipleship beginning with an invitation to change that would alter the lives of four fishermen and ultimately the entire world. These four set off on an adventure with no hope of security leaving behind everything. Such a change!

The Mystical Life

June 12, 2016 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Undergirding this prayer is the mystical theology that resides at the heart of Orthodox spirituality. God the Father is wholly transcendent, he cannot be known or defined. Only the Son has seen him and only the Son can reveal him. Our connection with the Father comes through the Son who makes him known.

The Way of Metaphor

May 29, 2016 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Nothing ever stands in the way of God’s radical acceptance of us. We see this today as Jesus breaks down all barriers in the story of the Samaritan Woman. He ignores all social, ethnic, religious and political mores when he sits down at Jacob’s Well at the hottest hour of the day and asks for water from a heretic and gender-inappropriate Samaritan. In his actions we learn that the only barriers to love do not exist in reality. These barriers exist only in our minds and we do not have to allow them to determine our lives.

Who Do We Trust and Why? Reflections on Thomas Sunday

May 08, 2016 - by Teva Regule
So, why does Thomas, who had been a close friend and follower of Jesus, doubt the witness of his friends? He wants direct proof - not only seeing, but also touching the wounds of Jesus.

Hymns of the Annunciation

March 27, 2016 - by Natasha Smith
Imagine what it was like to be Mary. You are an adolescent girl of humble origins. Just like your daughter or niece, or perhaps you as a child. Maybe you were born in West Roxbury or Medford. You are visited by an angel and then the Holy Spirit at the same time. Personally, my first reaction would be to run and hide. But, not Mary.

Today is the Day of Salvation

March 21, 2016 - by Kyra Limberakis
If we are hesitant or fear we have already failed in our Lenten commitments, let us remember that every moment is a new opportunity for renewal! Now is the time to infuse every moment of this sanctified Lenten season with the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Now is the time to 'follow Him,' as Christ invites Phillip in today’s Gospel.

On the Beginning of the Great Fast

March 14, 2016 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
But we can develop the spirituality that is reminiscent of Lent, an inward-looking spirituality, where we start to care for the condition of our souls, as much as we care for the condition of our outward lives. A balanced life is what Lent is supposed to be about. A balancing with the pivot of our souls looking both inward and outward.

On the Hymn of Kassiani

March 13, 2016 - by Linda Arnold
Can we dare to be heroic like this woman in this beautiful hymn? How did this woman who had fallen into many sins, know that He who was a guest in the home of Simon was God? She was illumined by divine grace and she responded. Through her repentance, she perceived the divinity of Christ.

On the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

March 06, 2016 - by Melissa Nassiff
Sometimes we have trouble believing in God's forgiveness, because we ourselves are unwilling to forgive. Living with the Great Canon during that first week of Lent - or better yet, throughout all of Lent - helps us focus more and more deeply on what it means to repent, how it feels to repent, and most especially, how it feels to be forgiven.

The Curious Monkey

February 28, 2016 - by Jamil Samara
The monkey's curiosity leads him to be trapped by his desires. Our passions can lead us to the same fate. The Triodion period in the life of the Church takes us on the way of the Cross, to Golgotha on Holy Friday, where we experience Christ's death through our own spiritual struggle. Fasting, prayer, and almsgiving are all a part of the way of the cross, the dying of ourselves, the relinquishing of our own will to allow God's will to grow within us.

Two Openings

February 21, 2016 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The Pharisee is closed up in himself. He has become wholly blended with his ego. His ego has become his god. Wrapped in his robes he feels safe and secure. But he still longs for validation! His prayer largely consists of a list of his pious achievements. Behind all this he hides his pain. His heart has become stone. He has no compassion for the Publican who weeps nearby and is to the Pharisee an annoyance.

Nothing Else, Nothing Else

February 15, 2016 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Suffering is universal. It connects us to one another. Weep with those who weep, Jesus teaches, And laugh with those who laugh. And Schopenhauer calls the rise of compassion we feel when we see even a stranger in pain a metaphysical breakthrough in which the boundaries between I and the other disappear. The truth is that the boundaries we believe in are the ones we have created. When the mind is still, boundaries no longer exist.

Do Not Squander the Gift

February 07, 2016 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
There is a gift that everyone has received from God. We have been made in his image. There is no greater gift. This gift defines us. There is in the depths of every human being a light that comes from God and connects us with him. Some of the Holy Fathers speak of this in moving terms, like Gregory Nazianzus who wrote: for the spirit that he breathed into (human nature) is a flash of the invisible godhead ... I am attached to life here below, while I also have in me a portion of the godhead.