Sermons from St. Mary Church

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.

Zaccheus Sunday: The Narrow Way of Life

January 31, 2016 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Jesus calls Zaccheus out of his tree as a compassionate care-giver, not as a judge. Jesus discerns that Zaccheus is open and in need of mercy and without hesitation, Jesus gives it in abundance. Zaccheus learned from Jesus what we are supposed to be learning: love is truth, love is joy, love is the doorway to wisdom, love is life, love is the food of immortality, love is the kingdom of heaven.

The Call to Universal Compassion

January 17, 2016 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The Gospel is a call to universal and unequivocal compassion. The life of Christ and his teachings are about doing good and being kind and bringing light into dark places. In the beginning Christianity was known as a religion of love.

On the Sunday Before Theophany

January 03, 2016 - by Fr. Nicholas Manikas
St. Paul says that if you are Christian, if you have received the Holy Spirit into your hearts, then remember that the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. This powerful verse should describe each and every one of us. It is a new year, a new chance to make a new start at bettering ourselves and becoming real Orthodox Christians who live the Christian life and not just look from the outside as faithful.

On the Feast of the Nativity

December 24, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Trust in God, Trust in Him Who is born tonight. Do not be afraid even of death, for He has conquered it. He has touched all of life, by sanctifying it with Himself. We have no reason to be afraid, even of death. We rejoice tonight because He has opened His heart.

On the Sunday Before Nativity

December 20, 2015 - by Bishop JOHN
This morning's Gospel lesson is about the genealogy of Christ. Even though it is difficult to hear or read all of these names, it is a very important Gospel reading for our faith. The flesh that Christ took on from Mary was real flesh. The ancestors of God in Christ, were real characters. When you study them, you find that they were jews and non-jews; righteous and murderers; people who were faithful and people who betrayed God; there were slaves and there were free, and so on. So, none of us can claim that God can't understand us because of our circumstances, because of our lousy childhoods, because our parents weren't perfect.

Too Distracted

December 13, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The parable of the Great Banquet has a simple lesson for us. We are too busy. We are too distracted. The heavenly banquet is here and now and we do not, or will not see it. Alan Watts writes in his brilliant book of Christian theology, BEHOLD THE SPIRIT, that we are, 'Too busy to accept the invitation to enter the door to the Heavenly banquet that lays immediately before us.'

Walk as Children of the Light

November 29, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Walking as children of the light is a process, a continual series of events not one grand transformation. The Gospel represents only one moment in the spiritual journey of the Rich Man. Jesus presented him with a challenge he could not meet and that didn’t mean no other such moments would come. Sometimes the truth cannot sink through the hard coverings that guard the heart so God permits a slow drip that eventually wears them away.

The Gentle Remembrance of Death

November 22, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Letting come and letting go is the heart of the spiritual life and a key to psychological well-being. It is an act of faith in the love and omnipresence of God to believe that what comes after we let go of this moment will be followed by grace over and over again in the next, no matter what shape it takes. And then life, lived with sacred mindfulness, becomes a miraculous journey to be met with curiosity, courage and compassion rather than a depressing pilgrimage to a fearful end.

Working Out Our Salvation

November 15, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
This is the truth we must ignore every time we are cruel to one another, or ignore one another, or become defensive, or abuse ourselves or our neighbors in some fashion. Interconnectedness is the foundation of the Great Commandment to love for there is in truth no separation between us and God, between you and me, between us and them. All divisions are creations of our minds.

Love is My Name

November 08, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Jairus’ 12 year old daughter was dead. Jesus, seeing the anguish of her father, brought her back to life. The Lord did not inquire about his or her worthiness or piety or anything else. Seeing the father’s anguish, Jesus responded with compassion. There were no conditions, no requirements, no legal hoops for Jairus to leap through. The Lord was not much for jumping through hoops.

The Rich Man and Lazarus

November 01, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Fr. Antony tells us how important it is to share God's love and mercy with others. This is what the rich man was not able to do.

The Gadarene Demoniac in Context

October 25, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Every person and situation Jesus met in the Gospels was unique and merited the Lord’s undivided attention and he gave it. I always wonder about the details scripture leaves out. What happened between the Gadarene man after his healing while the herdsmen were rushing after their pigs?

True Self, False Self

October 18, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The true self, the image is free and unencumbered by anything. A true believer Jesus says is like the Spirit and the wind 'blows where it wills.' Utterly liberated from the things that hinder most of us - our past, our sins, our fears, our desires and the whole plethora of things that condition us from our youth up – the Samaritan does the work of God. When we experience this unmitigated freedom, we know that the Spirit of God is moving in us. When we feel ourselves constricted and unable to respond with compassion, we know that the false self is leading the way.

The Good and Empty Heart

October 11, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The Lord Jesus speaks to us today about soil. Soil represents the internal state of heart and mind. Are we open and receptive, which is another way to say are we 'empty', is there any room in us for God or are we too filled with ourselves to receive him?

The Golden Rule

October 05, 2015 - by Fr. Nicholas Manikas
Aristides, a greek pagan philosopher, in defending the Christians during the persecutions of Hadrian the emperor of Rome in the 2nd Century, said these words. He said, Christians love one another. They never fail to help widows. They save orphans from those who would hurt them. If a Christian person has something he gives to the person who has nothing.

Bearing Witness to the Testimony of Jesus Christ

September 27, 2015 - by Bishop John
Fisherman were simple people, but they weren't stupid. They knew from generations and generations of being fisherman when there are no fish. But the fish came and filled the nets in abundance because the creator called them, and the fish obeyed. The fish bore witness to the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The Way of the Cross

September 20, 2015 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
To be honest, I never really liked sermons about the cross. They always went to dark places, and I was always more interested in the light. But the thing is, you can’t really get to the resurrection without the cross. It’s at the cross that we see God at his most humble and the living example of voluntary suffering.

The Kingdom May Be Compared To

September 06, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Jesus pointedly tells his disciples that the kingdom of heaven is within. And what do we usually find when we first look within? Chaos! In a work ascribed to St. Simeon the New Theologian entitled 'Three Types of Prayer' his readers are instructed not to become discouraged when they turn their awareness inside and find chaos! He encourages them to keep at it and watch as chaos gives way to open space.