Sermons from St. Mary Church
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.
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.
August 23, 2015 - by Fr. Nicholas Manikas
What is the one thing that keeps you from coming close to God? What vice or fault is keeping you away? The rich man in today's Gospel refused Christ's challenge. He heard it, turned around, and then went home. He didn't take the challenge; he was not willing to take the risk. He decided to remain in the familiar surrounding of his own obsession.
August 16, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The king in the Lord’s story is more like us than he is like God. He is merciful at first and then later on and at the point the majority of us would cheer as the evil servant gets what’s coming to him, a vengeful part takes over. So, instead of being like God the Always Compassionate, the king here is more like me, the sometimes compassionate.
August 09, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Right after the Transfiguration we are invited to contemplate the story of the father, his epileptic son and the faithlessness of the apostles. It is on the one hand a touching story of the father’s desperate love for his child. On the other it is about the inability of his apostles to comprehend the message Jesus had been trying to teach them.
July 05, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
On July 5, Fr. Antony presented the new Antimins to our congregation and spoke briefly about St. Raphael, whose relic is sewn into the Antimins. We then prayed a supplication service to St. Raphael to intercede on our behalf to God.
June 14, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
This statement intrigues me: 'they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed him.' Does that make any sense? They had families to provide for and, as we know, Middle Eastern families have very strong ties. But they left 'immediately' we are told. There must have been something special about these men that allowed for such spontaneity.
June 07, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
At every theophany from the creation to Pentecost, the Holy Spirit appears in ungraspable forms: wind, fire, smoke, earthquake. Even the famous dove at the Lord’s baptism is not a tangible, winged creature. He descended 'in the likeness of a dove.' It is impossible to cling to any of these forms. You cannot hold wind, or smoke, or fire, or the movement of the earth. The Holy Spirit is free, like the wind. We are to become free, just like the Spirit. To be free, we must let go of our attachments.
May 24, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The Gospel reading today is called the Farewell Prayer and comes at the end of the Lord’s discourse to his apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper and is called the Farewell Discourse. The Farewell Discourse is punctuated several times by a reiteration of what is called the Lord’s 'New Commandment': 'Love one another as I have loved you.' The 'new' part of that commandment is not 'love one another.' There was nothing 'new' about that. The 'new' part was the how of it. 'As I have loved you.' That was new.
May 10, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Today Christ meets the Samaritan Woman and sees in her the icon of himself. She is one of the very least of the brethren and, as we know, he and the least of the brethren are one. Could it be that Christ saw himself in her?
May 03, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
Curiosity and compassion brought healing to the Paralytic. They are companions. 'Do you want to be healed,' Jesus asked. Divine curiosity. Although God knows all things about us he does not force us to reveal them. That is why Jesus asked questions. Not to force information out of a person, but as an invitation to a dialogue that often led to healing and transformation.
April 19, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
I have not always understood Thomas. I think there are several reasons two of them being that I did not want to acknowledge that I am like him, skeptical and often unbelieving and secondly, I did not like the idea of touching wounds. I recoiled at the mention of Thomas 'placing his finger in the mark of the nails.' And I was even more repulsed by the idea of touching my own wounds.
April 08, 2015 - by David Vermette
This year, as catechist emeritus, I’d like to take a catechetical view of this service. That’s a fancy way of saying that I’d like to look at it from the standpoint of what we can learn about it and from it. Traditionally, this service is offered by seven priests. We just heard seven epistle and seven gospel readings. In some communities seven candles are placed on the table behind me, and one candle is lit after each Gospel reading. Why seven?
April 05, 2015 - by Fr. Antony Hughes
The most popular reading material in first century Palestine was the Book of Daniel with all its apocalyptic language and imagery. The brutality of the Roman Empire drove the people to long for a Messiah that would destroy the Empire and restore the Kingdom of David. It is not hard to see why the crowd in Jerusalem was so excited when they heard that Jesus raised Lazarus. The cruelty of Rome was extreme. Surely this man who could raise the dead would be the one to destroy Rome.
April 04, 2015 - by Teva Regule
These three words summarize the feast that we celebrate today. They point to the raising of Lazarus from the dead and are a harbinger of Jesus' own death and resurrection, foreshadowing the in breaking of God’s reign into history. We believe they also prefigure our own resurrection.
March 29, 2015 - by Melissa Nassiff
The Lamentations Service which we celebrate on Friday evening is actually the matins of Holy Saturday, sung on Friday 'in anticipation.' What we focus on in this service is Christ's death and His descent into Hades, which began on the cross on Holy Friday. But even though it is about his death, the service is really not about sadness and lamenting; it's a service of praise for what Christ has done by his death, and hope for our own life after death. Praise and Hope are the themes of Holy Saturday.
March 23, 2015 - by Linda Arnold and Maggie Rodriguez
We, the beloved, matter. All creation matters. What Christ has done He did because we matter! Let us wait a while with the dying One. Let us not rush to Pascha. But after a time, when we have lamented, when we have come to our senses, when we have let go, when we have owned our stuff and given Him all the parts of ourselves, when through loss and suffering we are stripped of all our fantasies and illusions, let us go into the bright and dawning new day of Pascha.
March 15, 2015 - by Andrea Popa
While the Holy Thursday shared meal is commonly known as the Last Supper, I would like to consider it also being the Last Lesson of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the calm before the storm. While the disciples were going about the details of their daily lives, Christ knew this would be the last quiet time of teaching before the events leading to his death began to unfold.
March 08, 2015 - by Sarah Byrne-Martelli
The Sacrament of Unction may be celebrated at any time for the healing of the sick. It is believed that Unction was added to Holy Week, so that those in need of healing and forgiveness would be received back into the Church. It is an opportunity to be reconciled with ourselves and our community in preparation for Pascha.
March 01, 2015 - by Stephani Nur Colby
Holy Week is in itself a meditation, a time set apart for us to draw closer to our Lord in a more intimate and powerful way as we follow Him on His lonely, terrifying, beautiful, and glorious road. Today we will be taking a look at the Bridegroom Matins that occur on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday evenings of Holy Week.