Thoughtful homilies of an Orthodox priest who serves a small parish and teaches Religion full-time at McMurry University in Abilene, TX. Fr. Philip LeMasters draws on his scholarly work in Christian theology and ethics, but most of all, these are the homilies of a pastor guiding his flock with insightful, practical suggestions on how to share more fully in the life of Jesus Christ.
We Must Mourn Our Sins in Order to Love Our Enemies
The love to which Christ calls us is not merely an emotion, but a true offering of ourselves for the sake of someone else. It is a self-less offering in which we put the needs and interests our neighbors before our own. It is a personal offering that builds communion with other people and unites us together as those who share a common life. Of course, the basis of such love is the great Self-Offering of Christ, Who enables us all to share in His eternal life as members together of His Body, the Church, as a foretaste of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Importance of Patiently Letting Down Our Nets in Obedience
Our calling, like that of Peter and the first disciples, is simply to obey Christ’s command to follow Him. When we stumble in doing so, we must cultivate the humble recognition of Peter, who said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
The Idolatry of Not Taking Up Our Crosses
We do not have to burn incense on the altar of a Roman god in order to show that we are ashamed of the Savior. All that we must do is to refuse to take up our crosses as we serve the false gods of this world. It does not take much spiritual insight to see that worshiping idols is quite common and easily done in our time and place.
God’s Foolishness and Weakness Are Greater Than the World’s Wisdom and Strength
As we celebrate the Exaltation of the Cross, let us examine ourselves to see if our lives appear foolish and scandalous by the standards of the world because of our faithfulness to Jesus Christ.
Offering the Fruits of Our Lives Instead of Using Religion to Hoard Them
As much as we do not like to acknowledge it, Christ’s Kingdom is not about giving us religion or anything else on our own terms. He calls us to offer Him “the fruits [of our lives] in their seasons.”
Embracing the Humility to Accept that “By the Grace of God I Am What I Am”
In response to Christ’s statement about how hard it is for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God, the disciples were amazed and asked, “Who then can be saved?” The Lord responded, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” That is true not only for the wealthy, but for us all.