Sermons & Homilies

“My Son, Give Me Thine Heart” - A Homily on the Rich Young Ruler (2013)

Today’s Gospel reading tells us of the rich young ruler who earnestly desired eternal life and asked Christ how he could inherit this desire. Christ first gives him some basic commandments of the law to see if the man had kept these. He replied that he had kept them all from his youth. Christ, knowing the young man’s heart and loving him tells him: Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow Me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.

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Appalachian “Old Christmas”

The people of Appalachia, with whom we at the monastery share a home in West Virginia, are a people who have been Protestant for many generations past. Though they aren’t Orthodox, and though many of their ancestors in America may never have been exposed to the Orthodox Church, they are people who, in their own way, hold a deep faith in God and have preserved many traditions that hearken back to ages past.

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In 1939, the American writer, James Thurber, wrote a short story entitled The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.1 The narrative deals with an aging Walter Mitty on a trip into town with his overbearing wife. Walter is inept at many things; he is an absent-minded driver, he can’t handle simple mechanical tasks, and he forgets things easily. While he goes through a day of ordinary jobs and errands, he escapes into a series of romantic fantasies, each spurred on by some mundane reality.

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On Slander - Sermon for the Sunday of St. John Climacus (2012)
When I was a teenager, I became the best of friends with another young man who was my age, and I spent most of my free time with him. This young man was known for being a very negative and critical person. My parents were not happy about our friendship, fearing the negative influence he would have on me, and they sometimes expressed their concern, but I would hear nothing of it, making excuses for him. One of the primary effects of that friendship was the terrible habit I developed of gossiping about people and slandering those whom I did not like. At first, I joined in with the desire to be liked and accepted by him, but later it became a part of me, whether I was with him or not. This friend and I would spend hours upon hours nearly every time we spoke, mocking and deriding other people, laughing at their expense, blinded by our pride and self-love, thinking we were better than everyone else. Deep down, I knew this behavior was wrong, but after several years of indulging in this sin, when I began to repent and change my way of life, this deep-rooted passion proved very difficult to uproot. I still remained very judgmental because my efforts to change were half-hearted.
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