Sermons from St. Mary Church

On the Life of St. Nicholas

December 06, 2020 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
Dn. Jeff Smith offers a reflection on the life of St. Nicholas followed by the singing of a Slavic Carol about St. Nicholas

Simply Not Conventional

November 22, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Jesus brought to us a unique Gospel. A new way of seeing. A new way of living. It is not the way we are used to. Not the way we are taught to think, see and live in our culture. It is a mistake to believe that Christ confirms the way we live as his own. When we do find ourselves in a dead-end. Following the Lord's teaching requires a recalibration of our minds.

Listening to God's Voice

November 08, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Today, once again, Jesus, through his compassionate words and actions, tells us the truth. People are what matters, not the Law, not ideology. People. The welfare of human beings in the eyes of our Lord trumps everything. That is the meaning of the Lord’s words, 'The Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath.'

On Compassion

November 02, 2020 - by Dn. Jeff Smith
The Rich Man has no taste or aptitude for Heaven. Like the wonderful story by C.S. Lewis, the Great Divorce, whose characters were in heaven but they couldn’t recognize it. They could only see themselves.  The Rich Man stands jealous of Lazarus’ possession of heaven, and He wants Lazarus to come serve him in hell. It’s unbearable for him to see happy someone he held in contempt. This is his internal state. 

Depth Spirituality

October 25, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
First, of course, we must courageously seek to know what in us is not at peace. Fr. Hopko used to say that we should uncover every rock and use every tool available, spiritual, psychological, and medical, to bring peace to the internal world. So, we must not be afraid to look deeply, to seek and to be open to what we discover and what the Lord reveals on the search.

Let's Stop Pointing Fingers and Examine Ourselves

October 18, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
We are in need of metanoia, brothers and sisters, as persons and as communities, to face squarely and creatively the challenges that face not only us but the world around us. We cannot be yeast in the world unless we are alive to the truth and dynamic in our humility. We cannot be the light of the world unless the light in us is truly light and not darkness. What happens when the salt has lost its flavor? It becomes useless.

No Favorites

October 05, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The Lord shows no favoritism. He is compassionate towards all, the good and the bad alike, and everyone in-between, which covers everyone I think. So far, in our two readings from Luke’s Gospel, we have heard about God’s non-discriminatory love.The Lord Jesus teaches us that God bestows lavish nurturing love upon all his creation.

No More Secrets

September 28, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Peter's response was an act of self-defense. The first time we see this in scripture is in Genesis when Adam and Eve attempt to hide from God in the Garden. Peter tried to hide by asking Jesus to depart. He, too, recognized his nakedness before God and tried to take control of the situation. Think also of the incident with the Gadarene demonic. Seeing the Lord’s power the people begged Jesus to leave. It is similar to the fight or flight response in the face of danger. Perhaps this is the reason why so many of the Christian mystics were persecuted and why Confession is so frequently avoided, not to mention contemplative prayer itself. Are we frightened of God? Strange that we so often try to push God away when he persistently calls us to draw near. Jesus cuts to the chase with Peter saying, 'Do not be afraid.'

Metanoia and Repentance

September 21, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
We can prepare the way for metanoia, but we cannot force it. One does not leap to Christ-consciousness in one fell swoop. Transformation is a process. Ultimately, metanoia is a gift over which we have no control. We can 'make the way straight' for his coming (Isaiah 40:3), but the time of his coming is not known to us.

The Beauty and Sanctity of All He Has Made

August 23, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The selfish person does not seek God out of love for him, but for what he can do for them. If we love God only for what he can do for us, then it is not God we love, but ourselves. Theirs is a transactional Christianity which, I daresay, is no Christianity at all.

Make Room for All of It

August 16, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The thing about faith is that it makes room for everything. If it rains, so be it. It is snows, thank God. If I’m well, nuska’ullah. If I’m not, God be praised. Faith doesn’t try to make the world into a Disney Land of our own design. The world is to be received as is. Life is to be received just as it unfolds and with gratitude.

Irradiating Grace

August 10, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Epiphanies serve this purpose: to drop-kick us into wonder. We need to be awakened from our long slumber, shaken awake by divine contradictions to our normal way of seeing.

The Life of My Life

July 20, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
We are light because God is light. It is He who placed this light at the core of our being. The Orthodox view of humanity is invariably positive.

The Great Fire (Astonishing to God)

July 05, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
What does mindfulness, vigilance and watchfulness have to do with the Centurion and his servant's healing? I believe the answer to that lies in the extraordinary nature of the Centurion's faith. He could see things no one else could see; namely what Isaiah the prophet saw, the Lord high and lifted up in the flesh before him. His faith was so extraordinary, in fact, that the Lord was astonished by it. That alone makes it worthy of our mindful attention.

Within You and Without You

June 29, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Our interpretation of what we see has everything to do with whether or not the light in us is light or dark. If light, then we will project light and we will see light. If the light in us is darkness, then we will project and see darkness.

I Very Much Suspect

June 22, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
I see today's calling of the four disciples as an invitation to enlightenment. We usually see it as a call to evangelize or something like that. I think it was first of all an invitation to wake up, to grow, to be transformed. Jesus became their rabbi, their teacher, their spiritual father. It was a three-year course taught by the Logos of God. It would be three years of ups and downs and mistakes and misunderstandings. Christ oversaw all this, the disciples long journey into repentance.

Revelations of Divine Love

June 15, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
If we knew God, really knew him, we would love nothing more than him and love everything less than him. And the love that overflows from him would then overflow from us to everything great and small. If we come to know him, we become like him. We do not cease to love all things, we become love. We no longer look at God from a distance, in fear, but up close and in wonder.

That They May Be One

May 31, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
We cannot be neutral or silent when our black brothers and sisters are being harmed. We must be light in this darkness. We must season the world with the salt of peace, and grace and truth and love. And we must not sit on the fence when the times call us to have courage and speak. And we must always gather on the side of the despised and persecuted, filling the gaping wound with the oil and wine of love,

Eyes Wide Open

May 28, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
This is a good example of why we should practice being present in the moment in which we live, rather than the past or the future, because every moment, great and small, provides an opportunity for the Glory of God to be revealed. Why is this? Because everything happens in God. 'In Him we live and move and have our being.' Not sometimes. All the time.

The Temple of the Heart

May 17, 2020 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Now, Jesus does say that the kingdom of heaven is within you and among you, but he does not mean that to us exclusively. In God there are no favorites.