March 18 2018

The Ladder to Heaven

On the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent the Church commemorates Saint John of the Ladder, who received his name for the book he wrote about ascending the ladder to heaven. The first step, where if we are honest with ourselves we spend our entire life, is Renouncing the World. Saint John wasn’t the first to suggest this. Christ Himself said we must first deny ourselves before following Him. The Gospel reading this Sunday (Mark 9.17-31) speaks about how only prayer and fasting will be enough to get us through the most difficult challenges to our faith. When our faith is weak, we are strengthened by prayer and fasting. Step-by-step we can find our way to heaven.


March 11 2018

The Hardest Part of Being a Christian

As we enter the fourth week of Great Lent, it is always good to be reminded that the Christian life is a struggle. The hardest part isn’t the fasting, nor the prayers, nor attending Church. It isn’t even avoiding sin. The hardest part of being a Christian doesn’t even have anything to do with our behavior is sinful or not, but how we react to how other behave. Everyone has free will, and if God doesn’t force people to act in a certain way, neither can we.


March 4 2018

Our Job is to Make Room

On the Second Sunday of Great Lent, the Church brings our attention to a miracle and lesson for our soul. In Mark 2.1-12, we hear about the healing of the Paralytic who was brought by four friends to see Jesus. Since the house was filled past the front door, they cut a hole in the roof and lowered the man down to see Jesus. The Gospel tells us when Jesus saw their faith, he healed the man. Just as these four men, it is our responsibility to bring others to Christ, so they can hear Him and see Him. Then they can be healed. Our Church may be filled, but it is our job to make room for them.


February 25 2018

The Truth of God in the World

The Sunday of Orthodoxy is celebrated each year on the first Sunday of Great Lent throughout the world. Children, parents, grandparents, and friends process around churches proudly proclaiming the truth of God. God became a human being so that we could be united to Him. That truth, verified through the presence of Holy Icons, is the source of great joy, that we share with our friends and family.


February 18 2018

Are We Greater than God?

On the final Sunday before the Great Fast, the Church reminds us of the importance of forgiveness in our salvation. Without forgiveness, there is no salvation. When we refuse to forgive others for what they may have done against us, we forget that all sin is against God, and it is His sole discretion to forgive. If we refuse to forgive, it is because we have placed ourselves as greater than God. If God is willing to forgive, who are we to refuse? We must take the responsibility for our sin of pride and ego, or we will never ask for forgiveness. When Adam and Eve sinned against God in the Garden, they denied having any responsibility in their sin, choosing rather than blame others. Since they never asked to be forgiven, God was unable to forgive them, and they were sent out of the Garden. Don’t make the same mistake. Take responsibility. Forgive and be forgiven!


February 12 2018

Recognizing Heaven

What if when we die, we all end up in the same place? What if we all end up in heaven? What if we don’t like being in heaven? The story of the Last Judgment found in Matthew 25.31-46 lays out the criteria Christ will use in our judgment. Are we able to see others in the same way Christ sees them? The story isn’t about making a list of required tasks, but rather whether how we see others. If we can’t see them in the same light that Christ see them, we may not recognize heaven when we get there.


February 4 2018

When One Returns

The Parable of the Prodigal Son teaches more than just repentance. It also teaches those who “never left” that we are called to welcome home those who left the Church. When they return home, it will be our opportunity to restore them to the original honor and status they enjoyed before leaving. If we are unable to welcome them home, and be filled with the same joy as the Lord at their return, we will be the ones who find ourselves outside the kingdom.


January 29 2018

True Christian Humility: A Call for God’s Mercy

The Church helps us see to silliness in having pride when it comes to our spiritual journey. “Thank You God! I’m not like all the other sinners in the Church!” If we ever witnessed a Church leader begin prayer with such a ridiculous prayer, we would turn away and run for the hills. On the other hand, Christian humility isn’t about calling ourselves ugly names either. True Christian humility is about being honest with where we are in life. True Christian humility helps us see that we are all sinners and we need God’s mercy.


January 22 2018

Climb above Temptation

On the Sunday before Triodion the Church brings our attention to Zacchaeus. He was a short, rich, sinful tax collector who wanted to see Jesus. Since he couldn’t see over the crowd, he climbed above the crowd to see Jesus. When Jesus came to stay at Zacchaeus’ house, Zacchaeus promised to give half of everything he had to the poor, and return fourfold anything he had received through false accusation. It just took a little climbing and he was saved. We are surrounded by so many temptations that we can’t always see God. We need to climb above it and engaged in cleaning our souls to be ready to see our Lord.


January 15 2018

God’s Point of View

From the time Jesus began to teach, He invited us to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4.17) This invitation from our Lord is crucial to our experiencing His love as heaven rather than hell. Since our ancestors fell trap to the devil’s temptation in the Garden, we humans have been looking at the world through our fallen eyes with our fallen human condition. When Jesus invites us to repent, He is challenging us to change our mindset, to change our view point, and look at the world from God’s point of view.

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