Saint John Orthodox Cathedral

Eagle River, Alaska

Antiochian Archdiocese

Homily Excerpt

April 4, 2021

Dn. Kevin Dougherty

Our Divine Liturgy certainly puts the Cross of Our Lord at the very center of our Worship. And I hope we all have the eyes to see and ears to hear the central focus of our Liturgy on the Cross. Today, of course, the Cross is literally placed in the center of the Nave; the Cross is always at the Altar; and we know that - deepest of all- the Eucharist is truly the center of our Worship in liturgy! Let us remember that when we accept the Eucharist - the Body and Blood of Christ - that in Faith, we accept both His Crucifixion and His Resurrection as we become in Communion with Our Lord. As we become 'members of His Body' we do also share in the mystery of His Cross. And so absolutely, the Cross and Our Lord Crucified is indeed central in our Liturgy and worship.

March 28, 2021

Fr. Marc Dunaway

‘Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it….’ If we remember this, we will not drift away, but we will want to draw close and press toward Jesus Christ. We will not succumb to the apathy of torpor that says, “Don’t make the effort. Don’t worry about the meaning of your life or things eternal things.” Instead we will take up the armor of our faith and fight the good fight against sin and evil. Saint Paul says: ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’ Being a follower of Christ is urged on by a desire deep inside our being, and nourished and increased by our own repentance and struggle. The paralyzed man was told to take up his pallet and walk. He made effort. And this is what the season of Lent encourages us to do. Get up and go home to God. Listen to the voice of Christ calling you.

March 21, 2021

Dn. Pat Lamb

Brothers and sisters, the Lord says to us today, ‘Come and See.’ And that is why we should struggle thru Great Lent, even if we are wondering, “Why am I fasting?” The purpose of fasting is to open the heart to God so that God will enlighten us and (so that we can see that He) helps us with things. And perhaps we also feel that we are in a worse mood now than we were before. Are we snapping at family, and co-workers? And having more difficulty with thoughts, and thinking what use is it to deprive myself of eating? What use to struggle to the end? And we even think that we’ll just be tired on Pascha and won’t feel the Lord, not as much as we want to? Those are our doubts...That is why the Church is telling us today at the end of the 1st week of Lent to ‘Come and See.’ Come and see that good things can come out of Nazareth. We can be completely changed. Everything that applies to the Saints applies to us, absolutely and positively. Jesus Christ came for us, for every man and woman and child. He wants us to have fullness and completeness, regardless of how weak we are, regardless of what happens to us, He wants us to be completely changed. And we can be. Indeed, as Christians, we must believe this, if we are to truly call ourselves Christians, we must truly believe that we can be changed. - (drawn from a homily by Fr. Seraphim H., McKinney, TX 2002)

March 14, 2021

Fr. Robert Polson

The nations have seen a great light. We start Lent with the theme of light and dark. Though our church building WILL be darker and dimmer than usual, Christ is there. So our church in this first week of Lent will be brighter than the brightest church at Pascha.

March 7, 2021

Dn. Joseph Ray

Today, the great human family, has differences and conflicts. In our current fallen condition, there is no way to avoid them, but the good news is that even in the midst of our differences, when focused on the love of God and the cross of Christ, our hearts can always remain open, full of love, full of compassion. And because our hearts are open and full of love and compassion, we can fulfill our God given vocation to love our brothers and sisters and need. When we see others hungry, thirsty, naked, sick and in prison out of love, regardless of our differences, regardless of our conflicts, out of love we give them food, out of love we give them drink, out of love we clothe them, and out of love we visit them. By loving others and serving others we love Christ and serve Christ. On that great and terrible day, I want to hear Jesus say to me, Come. I want to hear Jesus say to all of us, Come. With this hope firmly in our hearts, let us firmly resolve, with help of God, to love one another. Amen.

February 25, 2021

Parish Letter by Fr. Marc Dunaway

As Lent begins this year on March 15, it will have been one year exactly since our entire Church community was able to gather for Sunday Liturgy. Little did we know then that the pandemic would last an entire year. Now, at last, we are beginning to see an end in sight, as vaccines are administered and Covid cases decline. The sense, then, of Lent as a return has an additional meaning this year, as we take a step toward returning to be all together again... During this pandemic God has humbled us and called us to change. And now as we approach the season of Great Lent, we are called to humble ourselves before God and pray for His guidance in our lives even more. This takes not only humility, but even more, I think, courage. God never wants us to remain simply the same, stuck in our old habits and ideas, but always to move ever closer to Him and to journey to become more of what He meant us to be.

February 21, 2021

Dn. Kevin Dougherty

By the Pharisee's misguided perspective he exalted himself and forgot God's preeminence! Rather than letting God judge the Publican, the Pharisee considers himself the judge of people. Turning to the Publican, we can certainly learn from his life. Yes, the Publican understood that he was a sinner. And so when he went to the Temple to pray he had a spiritual attitude of contrition to God. He confessed his sin and said ‘God be merciful to me a Sinner!’ He humbled himself before God. And so the Orthodox Study Bible explains, ‘Jesus reverses the expected conclusion. In the eyes of God - it is the Tax Collector who is justified because of his humility. The Pharisee is condemned because of his self-righteousness and self-exaltation!’ So the Question Arises: How do we seek Humility in our life? Well, Fr. Alexander Schmemann wisely wrote the following: ‘The answer for a Christian is simple: we gain humility by contemplating Christ. We contemplate Our Lord Jesus Christ who is revealed by God ... for all His glory as humility and His humility as glory.’ So we learn humility by focusing on Our Lord -- Our Lord Who says in Scripture : ‘Learn from Me for I am meek and humble in Heart.’ Finally, may I add a personal observation that i hope is helpful. i often see a great saying about Humility on an office plaque. The plaque says, ‘Humility is not thinking less of yourself, instead it is thinking of yourself less!’ Thus we don't have to feel inferior about ourselves -- yet when we think about God and our neighbor more -- we can become less self-focused.

February 14, 2021

Homily by Fr. Thomas Frizelle

ON THE CANAANITE WOMAN - ‘Free her,’ Lord. That is, ‘Give her what she wants, because she keeps, and keeps on, crying out after us.’ So the disciples ask on her behalf. That is what we are to do: Ask others to pray for us. That’s why we have intercessory prayer in the Liturgy; why we gather our needs and wants, worries and fears, and the concerns of others into petitions before the Altar. We pray for one another. Prayer is the exercise of our universal priesthood as Christians. It’s what priests do. They pray. And you are all priests, anointed in your Baptisms. We have the priestly privilege, and the duty, to speak to God on behalf of others. …The purpose of prayer is not to conform God’s will to our will, but to shape our will to His. And to receive everything, everything, as a gift from Him. It is only on our knees, with empty hands and broken and contrite hearts, that we are able to receive God’s gifts. Our hands must be emptied before they can be filled. Before we can live in Christ, we must die to self. ...And this is what the Canaanite woman did when the Lord called her a dog. She could have become indignant, walked away, turned back, but instead she receives His judgment and says, ‘Yes, Lord! Gentile Dog I may be, but even dogs are not kept from eating the crumbs that sometimes fall from their Master’s table.’ She presses Jesus with His own words and says, ‘If the Lord says I am a dog, then I am a dog! But even dogs get crumbs,’ for she knows that the Crumbs that fall from Jesus’ Table are the Crumbs of the Bread of Life, and her great faith will not be denied. …’O woman,’ He says, ‘great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed that very hour...

February 7, 2021

Fr. Marc Dunaway

ON THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS - It is a foundational understanding of Christianity that God, as the Source and Creator of all things, is the One Who gives us all things…. Since God is good and He only creates good, the meaning of this parable for us is that the only right use of everything that God has given us is to multiply His goodness in the world…. We can also say that wherever God’s goodness is hindered or lacking, people are in some way suffering. If the goodness of health is gone, they are sick. If the goodness of purpose is gone, they are sad. Here we come to another foundational understanding of Christianity, the only right use of everything is to glorify God and to help other people, for both of these are the same as multiplying the goodness God has given us.

January 31, 2021

Fr. Robert Polson

At this time in our world the words ‘personal freedom’ seem to be the gospel. ‘Me, I, My, Mine. Me, me, me, me.’ What about your neighbor? ‘My who? No! What about me? Me, me, me….’ How can I be free if my being comes from God? (Acts 17:28) The answer is no one can be personally free except with God. In God we are personally free so we can love our neighbor.

January 24, 2021

Dn. Joseph Ray

I would like to encourage all of us to pray the prayer of the blind man: ‘Lord, that I may receive my sight.’ Let us pray this prayer in order to see Jesus clearly, who has earned our trust through the cross and the resurrection. In order to see ourselves clearly, through the life, light and love of God. In order to see others clearly, so that we may see how precious the brother or sister I judge, snub and criticize is to God. God loves all persons with the deep love of the cross and the resurrection. So this morning let us answer the question Jesus puts to us, What do you want me to do for you? Let us answer from the bottom of our hearts, ‘Lord, that I may receive my sight.’

January 17, 2021

Fr. Marc Dunaway

Being thankful is an essential part of being a healthy and happy person. We fully become who we are called to be when we stand in a relationship of worship and thanksgiving to God. Saint Basil the Great gave an exhortation to in Christians in the fourth century. ‘When you sit down to eat, pray. When you eat bread, do so thanking Him for being so generous to you. If you drink wine, be mindful of Him who has given it to you for your pleasure…. When you dress, thank Him for His kindness in providing you with clothes. When you look at the sky and the beauty of the stars, throw yourself at God’s feet and adore Him who in His wisdom has arranged things in this way. Similarly, when the sun goes down and when it rises, when you are asleep or awake, give thanks to God, who created and arranged all things for your benefit, to have you know, love and praise their Creator.’

January 6, 2021

Fr. Marc Dunaway

Jesus was baptized because He wanted to identify with every suffering that He saw. He wanted to be completely one of us, feeling and experiencing all our struggles. This gives us great hope. God has come down to us. He is with us. In this last year, including even the events we witnessed today in our nation’s capital, we have all suffered many blows to our soul. Jesus comes to be baptized by John because He has come to take all of that to Himself. He knows all that we have endured. He sees our tear-streamed faces. But He has come not only to know our sorrows. He has come also to lift us up, to join humankind to God, to fill us with the Holy Spirit. In joining His divine life to us Jesus has summoned us to become radiant with His life. On this Feast Day we can be comforted. But we also can be inspired that in Christ God has set before us a high path we are called to ascend.

January 3, 2021

Dn. Joseph Ray

Today, we read these words of John the Baptist, ‘I baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’ A life immersed in the Holy Spirit is a life poured out in love and service to God. A life poured out in love and service to our brothers and sisters. At the beginning of this new year, let us firmly resolve to allow the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts, to love and serve those on the periphery, to love and serve those on the margins of society, to love and serve those who fall between the cracks. Why? Because Jesus came to baptize us with the Holy Spirit.

December 20, 2020

Fr. Robert Polson

The Nativity is the celebration of the enfleshment of God. The genealogy of Christ is one of a flawed family history. Jesus came to us with an imperfect family history to show us that He is as human as you and me BUT WITHOUT SIN. He does not require accolades, dignity. He is God. Phillipians 2:6 ' ..who, being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal to God.' If Jesus is not absolutely, completely human we are NOT saved. But He is fully human. He is fully God and because of his great humility and love we are saved.

December 13, 2020

Fr. Thomas Frizelle

It’s so easy to get the wrong idea about what makes a person successful. Here, in St. Herman, we have one lone man, one lone monk, one lone dedicated Christian, the last survivor of a small but rugged group of people who were sent out to do mission work (who had the spiritual instinct to do mission work!) and given almost nothing to help him survive. Nothing except the power of God, the vision, and the wisdom, and the strength to do what the Lord wanted him to do. This one monk, St. Herman, turned out to be a torch, a beacon burning bright, for us now down through the centuries. He is an inspiration. And I, for one, am glad for the prayers of St. Herman in this cold and dark winter, and at the end of this bleak year. ... In this coming week, my friends, I want to emphasize again how important it is to prepare. For Christmas to be truly meaningful it must have something meaningful inside. Something true at its heart. Today we are reminded again that God keeps His promises; He does what He says. The Word of God, spoken by the Forefathers, is fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ... There have been many wonderworkers in the history of the world, but what distinguishes all of God’s Saints are the wonders of His Love. They open our eyes and ears to something deeper. They open our minds and hearts to the depths of divine love, letting us peer into something beyond this life, to something holy… to Someone holy. And this changes us forever.

December 6, 2020

Fr. Marc Dunaway

Both Saint Nicholas and today’s Gospel urge us to see people as most important. In closing I think we can apply this even to parenting. Be sure you see your children as persons, even when they are three years old, but certainly when they become teenagers. Children are not things merely to be formed a certain way, to be pressed into a mold or conformed to a set of behaviors that parents believe is best or right…. I have seen parents who were very orderly themselves and who out of the best of intentions made lots of rules and worked hard to impress their children into them. And I have seen parents who might be disorderly and messy, but who somehow convey to their children a sense of respect as persons, and allow them perhaps even more freedom than they should. In my observation I think the latter usually turn out better off and keep as adults a good relationship with their parents. I recommend this: as few rules as necessary while always being sure to respect your children as persons.

November 28, 2020

Fr. Marc Dunaway

There are times when our work in the Church is exciting. In my life it was exciting as we moved towards becoming Orthodox and when we were building the Cathedral. In Saturday’s Gospel the 72 apostles returned from their journeys excited about what they had witnessed. Jesus was excited with them as He said, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.’ But life goes up and down and our work is not always exciting. So to help the apostles and us keep perspective Jesus immediately added: ‘However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’ This is what matters ultimately.

November 22, 2020

Fr. Thomas Frizelle

The wisdom of how to use one’s life and possessions is as old as Solomon, and the ‘fool’ in this morning’s parable need not have been so foolish—if he had but listened and learned from Scripture. Sadly, like the Pharisees and lawyers in Luke 10, and again in Luke 11, and again, later, in Luke 16 (in the story of the Rich Man & Lazarus), so also this man failed to listen. Jesus’s words suggest that the remedy for worry and anxiety over wealth is actually to give away the surplus. Those given an abundance of God’s gifts in this world can thank God from the bottom of their hearts for this surplus, and enjoy His gifts, but not alone, not selfishly—but rather freely giving away what God has so freely given. And this will actually alleviate anxiety over what one’s heirs might do with such wealth. It will also take away the danger of heirs counting on their inherited wealth—which is one of the greatest corrupters of morals and godly ambition. So the passage ends by telling us where true wealth may be found. ‘So also,’ Jesus says, ‘is everyone who lays up treasures for himself, but is not rich toward God.’ True wealth is our response to God in faith, and our disposition toward our possessions in accordance with that faith—to share with others rather than accumulating things for ourselves.

November 15, 2020

Fr. Marc Dunaway

It is no surprise to us that our beautiful world suffers many things. Like the traveler in today’s Gospel, our world is repeatedly robbed and beaten, sometimes left to die. And yet, God comes. Some have seen in the parable today not just the clear command to help our suffering neighbor, but also a picture of how God in His love has come to us. In Jesus Christ God is present, almighty yet humble, upholding the universe and yet sitting along a road, healing everyone who comes to Him and yet preparing to give His own life as a sacrifice.

November 1, 2020

Dn. Joseph Ray

To be human is to reflect the life, light and love of God. The tragedy of the rich man is that he refused to be human. He refused to reflect the life, light and love of God. He chose instead, to live a life following the deeply rooted human tendencies to put himself first, to blame others, and to make excuses for himself. The shocking thing, the horrifying thing, the monstrous thing about the rich man, was not what he did. The shocking, horrifying and monstrous thing is that the rich man saw Lazarus every day and did nothing. Nothing. I simply want to encourage all of us, to listen to Moses and the prophets, and to reverse those deeply rooted tendencies in our hearts. I want to encourage us to live up to our high calling to be human, to reflect the life, light and love of God in all and with all. Amen.

October 25, 2020

Fr. Marc Dunaway

Anger not only hurts other people, it damages our own soul. And the solution rarely has anything to do with the other person. It usually has only to do with our own self. For we can get just as angry at inanimate objects like a stripped screw or button that won’t go right… God loves us, and does not want us to be ruled by anger, not by a sudden burst of fury nor by the smoldering coals of pent up rage. When anger is in control of us we cannot be who God made us to be. We are prisoners of its impulses and blind to the truth. If Jesus came all the way across the Sea of Galilee to free the demon-possessed man, he can and does want to free us from anger.

October 18, 2020

Fr. Thomas Frizelle

Today, October 18, is the Feast of St. Luke, Apostle and Evangelist. ...St. Luke is symbolized by the image of an ox—a bull or calf—which is a figure of sacrifice, and of service, and of strength. The Ox signifies that all Christians should be prepared to sacrifice themselves in following Christ… Let us contemplate also on this day that St. Luke was a Martyr… Evil men and idolaters arrested him, it says, at the age of 84!—still considering him somehow to be a danger at 84! (I hope I’m a danger at 84!) He was flayed alive (which means they tore off all his skin), and then crucified him by hanging him on an olive tree. A martyr, you know, is a witness. That’s what the word means, 'witness' …a witness to the faith, a witness to Christ. Luke’s martyrdom was the culmination of his entire life—of his devotion to Christ, and to the Truth that sets us free.

October 11, 2020

Fr. Marc Dunaway

If we stay humble and patient with each other, and if we want and will look for the word of God, no matter how black the cloud that comes across the sky, if we remember that which we have believed, that God has come to us in Jesus Christ, if we turn away from becoming bitter, if we ask God to strengthen us do what we can, and ask Him to lead us and expect that He will, if we come and pray together every time we can, ultimately everything will be okay. Our hope rests neither in Mr. Biden or in Mr. Trump, neither in Moderna or Astra-Zeneca. Our hope is in God, a hope beyond this life only, a hope anchored in something yet to come, yet somehow already familiar, a hope guiding our actions in this life of here and now. So we know the light of God will shine again in ways brighter than we have ever seen, someday burning away once and for all our fears and doubts and restoring to us a joy and a spirit we once knew as children.

October 5, 2020

Fr. Thomas Frizelle

'Come out from among them and be separate,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will be a Father to you and you will by my sons and daughters.’ We find it easier to be adversarial and condemn our enemies. It’s hard to be patient and kind, and generous, and forgiving toward others—and to put the best possible construction on people’s motives and words and actions, and not ‘bear false witness against thy neighbor’—the Ninth Commandment. There’s so much in our culture and society today that would tell us that we are perfectly justified in allowing anger and resentment and self-righteousness to shape how we respond to one another, both as individuals and as groups of people… But that’s not us—you and me—who, by the grace of our Lord Jesus have become, as St Paul says, ‘temples of the living God.’ Our goal is not to be just one more ‘special interest group’, or party, or faction, but to become, as St. Paul says, ‘temples of the living God,’ and to be ‘merciful, even as our Father is merciful.’ Our goal is to live as children of God…’perfecting holiness in the fear of God,’ as St. Paul says. To separate ourselves from (most of) what is happening around us in our culture, from what would keep us enslaved to old ways of thinking, old habits and old passions, we have to shut our ears to voices that associate strength with those passions (as though it were somehow virtuous to hold grudges and refuse to forgive, and refuse to see the good in others). We have to shut our eyes to the habit of seeing our neighbors only as those who look like us, think like us, and live like us. God’s love and mercy extends way, way beyond that. His mercy extends to sinners—even sinners like you and me. And if that is the case, how can we refuse to extend mercy to anyone else?.

September 27, 2020

Fr. Marc Dunaway

When He had finished speaking, Jesus told Simon to go out into the deep and let down his nets. Here something really important is revealed about Simon who would later be called Peter. Even though he was an experienced and expert fisherman, Simon believed in Jesus. He had faith in Him. Something in him was awakened that made Him turn to this man and trust Him. Simon said, ‘Master, we have worked all night and caught nothing, nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’ It was the ‘nevertheless’ that made Simon extraordinary.

September 20, 2020

Dn. Joseph Ray

Today, Jesus invites us to follow Him by taking up our cross. What cross? Anything and everything that divides and isolates. Anything and everything that separates and builds wall between us. As we contemplate Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, let us take up our crosses as one, as united. Together. Amen.

September 13, 2020

Dn. Pat Lamb

God the Son came so that we would have life. He came so that we would be saved. He didn’t just come so that He could be killed. He came to give us life--His entire life, and it was all because of love. So let us be bold in doing things and living life with love.

September 6, 2020

Fr. Marc Dunaway

At the end of today's parable we hear that the Kingdom will be given to a people who will bear the fruit thereof. To 'bear fruit' is not automatic, as we see when Jesus cursed the fig tree for having no fruit. But it is also not something we strain to do. Rather, if the conditions are right, God's grace will bring about fruit in our life and in our parish. These conditions are the soil of a good heart as found in the noble people of the our parishes; the water of forgiveness, God's forgiveness of us in our Baptism, and our continuing forgiveness of one another; the food of prayer and good teaching; and finally the light of Truth, Truth brought into in every aspect of our life. If we work to set these conditions, we will bear spiritual fruit by the grace of God.

August 30, 2020

Fr. Marc Dunaway

In response to the trend of young people leaving their faith in God and in the Church, I would wish that young people today could look at Orthodox Christians and see in us a people with at least these three characteristics: we believe in a loving God greater than anything we can ever comprehend; we want the Truth in every level of our life; and we are kind and good to every suffering person. If they can see this, then they will have seen in us some presence of the one Who is our Lord. And even when we fail in such a high calling, if they see us willing to admit our faults and begin again the pursuit of such noble things, then even they may be inspired to surpass the rich young ruler in today’s Gospel and sell all they have and follow Christ.

August 23, 2020

Fr. Thomas Frizelle

Forgiveness is not a feeling. You don’t have to be in a 'forgiving mood' to do it. To ‘forgive from the heart,’ as Jesus says, is an act of the will. And its essence lies in the power of the words, ‘I forgive you,’ and in the actions shaped by those words. Forgiveness means we do not return evil for evil, anger for anger, sin for sin. We do not do unto others as they have done to us. Jesus said, ‘Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, it will be poured into your lap. For the measure you give, will be the measure you receive.’ I love those words: ‘…pressed down, shaken together, running over.’ Spilling onto everything and everybody—God’s mercy! And it is from this overflow of forgiveness that we in turn forgive others, letting flow to others what God has so generously poured out on us—the forgiveness that flows to us from the Cross, that knows no limits.

August 16, 2020

Dn. Pat lamb

Why could we not cast him out? This is how you obtain belief. Saying we believe in God is not enough. We must live according to the Resurrection. We have to look at others and care about others -- and what if you don’t really care about others? Dee Pennock (in her book God’s Path to Sanity ) counsels that if we don't have love for others a good prayer which we can repeat often is, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, deliver me from Self-Love and give me love for others’ (p.211 ). In Galatians we are counseled to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ… So what is the law of Christ ?... It is love, It is to love, and therefore, to know God ---Who is love. It’s not a list of 10 or 20 or 100 things we must do….We are to love God as He has loved us. And in loving Him as He has loved us, we reach out to others. And we’re not envious, we’re not provoking, and we care about people, even those who don’t care about us, even those that would not return our good favor to them. (Excerpted from a homily by Fr Seraphim Holland, 10 years ago) .

August 9, 2020

Dn.Joseph Ray

Saint Herman loved the people of Alaska. He showed his love for them in two specific ways. First, he put himself on the same level as the people he came to serve. He treated people with profound respect; he treated their faith with respect. He presented the good news of Jesus, not as a replacement to their faith, but as its fulfillment. He valued the good hard spiritual work they had already done and helped lead them on to maturity and fullness in their faith. Second, St. Herman, at great personal cost to himself, advocated for the people of Alaska. He witnessed firsthand the terrible abuse they suffered by some of the Russians. St. Herman put himself in harm’s way and was himself the target and the object of the hatred of many because of his love for the people of Alaska.

August 2, 2020

Fr. Marc Dunaway

Even though we cannot all be together in one place, we are still together as a spiritual family. Our parish, our church stays united by us coming to this Holy Place and worshipping and receiving Holy Communion. Whether it is a small group of us on Wednesday or Saturday or Sunday, each time we receive the Holy Eucharist we are joined to God and also to one another. And when we are not able to be together, it is possible for us to hear the Church singing on Sunday and Feast Days through the technology of our times. We cannot force events to be different than they are, but we can believe in God. He is with us especially now, sees our needs and will have compassion on us. So let us continue to go forward, and as Christ showed us in the Gospel we heard today, take what we have, and do what we can, asking God to bless our efforts, believing that He will multiply His grace within us to be more than we need, more than we ever expected.

July 26, 2020

Fr. Michael Oleksa

We are conflicted society…. People are arguing and fighting and dividing one against one another…. Fr. Alexander Schmemann, my beloved teacher, used to say, the whole mission of the Church is to celebrate and bring the reality of Christ’s resurrection into the world and then to keep it alive for the rest of the year…. Holiness unites. Holiness cures. We come to the Church to have a small dose of holiness given to us and then we’re sent out in the name of the Lord to bring that joy and that love and that peace to others. We know what it’s like to be contaminated these days, in the days of Covid 19, how it’s spread, sometimes unknowingly from one person to the other. Faith is the same. Hope is the same. Love is the same. It’s also invisible, but you catch it, you see. It’s our mission to contaminate the world, not with something evil and deadly, but with something good and beautiful and holy, the news of the resurrection, the glory of God. Let all our temporary differences of opinion, politically or socially or economically, be put back where they belong…. .

July 12, 2020

Dn. Joseph Ray

The gospel of the two demon-possessed men meeting Christ in the Gergesenes encourages me that, no matter what, Jesus is with us - no matter what, we have hope. These men, could not help themselves, could not be helped by others, but they were sought out by God Himself. Psalm 139, one of my favorites, is enormously encouraging to me, especially when I read it as if I were one of these men. The Psalm begins, ‘O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; you understand my thoughts, you are intimately acquainted with all my ways. There is not a word on my tongue O Lord, but you know it altogether… if I make my bed in hell, you are there…how precious are your thoughts to me O God, How great is the sum of them, if I should count them, they are more in number than the sand.’ Brothers and sisters, please be encouraged this morning that God is with us no matter what and all things are possible with God. Amen.

July 5, 2020

Protodeacon Pat Lamb

The soul knows when it does wrong. The soul knows when it has bad priorities. The soul knows when it's really lying to itself, saying it is a Christian but not living in a Christian way - perhaps going to church, giving alms and other things, but not having your priority to be with God.The soul knows...The key to faith is you have to live according to the things you say you believe.It 's a matter of priority. It's a matter of consistency.It 's a matter of being honorable about what you say you believe. This is what marks a Christian. - Shared from the website of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, 2009, Mckinney, Texas.

June 28, 2020 - Sts. Peter and Paul

Fr. Thomas Frizelle

…Heavenly, divine things, things which the ‘eye has not seen, nor the ear ever heard…things which have not entered into the heart of man' (1 Cor. 2)--these things must be revealed by the Holy Spirit who is everywhere present and fills all things--the Spirit of Truth--who takes the things of Jesus and delivers them to us. It is this life-giving truth that creates faith and hope and love. It is the pure, pure Gospel. The Truth, that not only brought Sts. Peter and Paul together, and brought them to repentance in humility, but also turned them into lights--lights to lighten the gentiles, and the glory of God’s people, Israel. And for us, they are beloved fathers and teachers and saints. It is their faith in Christ that has immortalized and engraved their names in us forever. I’ll close with a few words from the stichera of 'Lord I Cry' from Vespers last night: 'How shall we worthily sing hymns to honor Peter and Paul? Their hands were filled with grace and truth. Their feet carried them to the ends of the earth, preaching the Gospel of peace. They were driven by the wind of the Spirit and carried up to heaven! They are rivers of wisdom, and upholders of the Cross! Nurturers of the whole world, living tablets of the New Testament—whom Christ, Who has great and rich mercy, has exalted!' Let us strive to imitate their repentance, and also to imitate their love and life-giving faith which enables us to conquer our fears, and our conflicts, and to overcome the world.

June 21, 2020 - Sunday of All Saints of North America

Fr. Marc Dunaway

It is common to see today Icons of a dozen or so Orthodox Saints gathered around the Theotokos with the title “Saints of North America.” It is my dream and hope that someday there will be an Icon that tells the greater story. It will have the Orthodox Saints depicted, but behind them will rows and rows, myriads upon myriads of other Saints gathered with them. These holy people will not be from the ranks of the Orthodox Church. There will be men in top hats, grey-haired grandmothers, native Americans with headdresses, young, zealous missionaries, soldiers who died to save others, bald, black-headed men wearing chains, silver-haired preachers who stirred the heart of many, even perhaps young people who professed Christ and then were shot by a deranged shooter in their school. That icon needs to be painted because it is true and it tells even more the greater story that we remember today when we commemorate all the Saints of North America.

June 14, 2020 - Sunday of All Saints

Dn. Joseph Ray

I want to encourage us to follow Jesus with a renewed zeal. A renewed clarity. A renewed resolve. And to let go of whatever obstacle we might cling to, leaning ever more fully on the Holy Spirit as we follow Jesus. Allowing the Holy Spirit to continue to turn our hearts upside down as we take our next step forward in following Jesus. Our lives, just like the lives of our brothers and sisters who lived before us, will all look unique. Some might conquer kingdoms and fight injustice. Others might conquer personal passions like envy and greed. Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, we all fight and we all conquer. -

June 7, 2020 - Pentecost

Fr. Marc Dunaway

Just because I have not personally seen or experienced discrimination or racism does not mean it is not real. If I only respond to the phrase ‘black lives matter’ with ‘all lives matter,’ I am being deaf to the pain expressed by people who are truly suffering. As Christians we oppose racism when it is right before us, and we should support righteous civic policy that condemns violence and protects the sacred value of all human life. Jesus addressed the ultimate remedy for systemic evil when He cried out: ‘He who believes in me out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ This gift of the Holy Spirit, which we celebrate on Pentecost and which God has placed in our hearts, pushes us to root out from our own hearts any trace of suspicion of others simply because they are different than us. Even the miraculous ‘tongues’ on that first Pentecost provide a glimpse of the unity God desires among the nations.

May 31, 2020

Fr. Thomas Frizelle

When the Lord ascended into heaven, He did so with a glorified body, but also with a wounded body; a scarred body. His wounds did not compromise His divinity or His holiness. In fact, it was through them that He conquered death and made clear that He is the Son of God, the Savior of the world. And so too our wounds. No matter what they are they cannot shut us out of the Kingdom. We must, however, offer those wounds to Him, and open ourselves up, and bring them out into the Light, the healing Light, which can restore us--our withered hands and withered hearts--making us whole again. When our wounds are the result of our sins, we have to confess them and repent of them in humility. When our wounds are the result of other peoples’ sins, then we must learn to make them points of contact for others, and Jesus did with Thomas, that others too may see Christ, and ascend with us. This requires that we learn to see what our wounds reveal about ourselves, about our lives, our relationships and our world, no matter how difficult that may be. Then we can make our wounds part of our Salvation, and maybe help someone else’s entrance into Heaven….

May 24, 2020

Fr. Marc Dunaway

Jesus Christ is the light of world and He will be with us and guide us if we trust Him. Two different kinds of people can be seen in the Gospel today: proud men who refused to change and accept the truth when it was right in front of them; and the blind man who received not only his eyesight but also spiritual light as he believed in Jesus Christ. On this day and in the days ahead, let us ask God to show us His light and lead us, and let us be willing to change whenever His light shows us we are wrong or that we have more to learn.

May 17, 2020

Dn. Joseph Ray

The beauty of the Samaritan woman is that she shows us that we do not have to remain stuck in our past, in the quagmire of past mistakes and regrets, whether it is the pain of broken marriages or the wounds of failed family relationships or the shame of social isolation due to friendships somehow gone bad. She does not allow her past mistakes to hold her back or keep her down or stuck. She leaves no room for despair. She holds out hope in God. Jesus raises her up and they move forward together.

May 10, 2020

Fr. Marc Dunaway

This Gospel is read on the third Sunday after Pascha because the Church wants us to see that the power of Christ’s resurrection is not just something that happened on Easter day. It is a power meant to be at work in our lives. Christ is risen and he means us to get up. He got up. Now I need to have courage and get up. After all what’s the worst thing that can happen to you in this world? You die. But if Christ is risen from the dead and we too will rise from the dead with Him, what is there to be afraid of? Christ is risen. Have no fear. Ask for His help and get up. This is how He wants us to live.

May 3, 2020

Chris Kies, Subdeacon, Chaplain

So as we stand today in the empty tomb with the women – perhaps carrying our shame for our failures, perhaps carrying apathy and indifference – we are invited to return to Galilee, to return to that place where we first encountered the Lord, and to remember the joy and fulfillment we had when we were there. We must not stay back because it is too difficult, for as the angel said, 'He is going before you.' And as we take that first step, every successive step becomes easier as we restore our relationship with the world, with others, with God, and with ourselves to its proper function. 'There you will see Him.' So get up, and get going.

April 26, 2020 - Saint Thomas Sunday

Fr. Marc Dunaway

The apostles faced uncertainty, fear and anxiety just like all human beings. They did not know where their travels would take them or how their lives would end. But one truth they did know and this they held onto. It is the same truth we are invited to cling to in our own times of uncertainty. Jesus Christ is Risen! He lives! He is with us! We may not know the economic future. We may not know when the coronavirus will be as defeated. We do not know if it will re-appear in the fall and bring all of us once again to shelter and hide. But regardless of anything that happens in this world, our hope and our faith reside in something that is beyond this world, that Jesus Christ has taken our world into Himself, and raised it up and renewed it. He will raise us up too. He will forgive us our failings. This truth does not magically erase our current uncertainties. But it can undergird them with a foundation that will not fail. It puts beneath our lives a safety net which no matter how far we may fall, will catch us in God’s eternal life and love. We may suffer illness, but Christ is risen. We may suffer a family crisis, but Christ is risen. We may suffer poverty, but Christ is risen. We may suffer sadness, a protracted illness, or a sudden martyrdom, but Christ is risen.

April 20, 2020

Paschal Homily of Saint John Chrysostom

All of you, enter the joy of our Lord. One and all, enjoy your reward. Rich and poor, dance together. Ascetics and easy-goers, honor the day. You who have fasted and you who have not, be glad today and delight in the Lord. The table is full. Let all enjoy it. The food is ample. Let none go away hungry. Let all enjoy the banquet of faith, all enjoy the wealth of God’s goodness. Let no one complain of poverty. The Kingdom is open to all. Let no one bewail his faults. Forgiveness has dawned from the tomb. Let no one be afraid of death, for the Savior’s death has freed us. He Who was seized by death extinguished death.

April 5, 2020

Fr. Tom Frizelle

…This viral plague reminds us of our frailty, and the brokenness and sickness of our world since the Fall. But it also reminds us of God’s steadfast love and mercy and that His grace is greater still; that grace and mercy and love endure. For our God has the cure for all that ails us. Christ’s blood washes us clean, and takes away our leprosy, and the sin that so easily entangles us, and which keeps us separated from God and each another. This is a time for courage, faith, and creativity. A time to move forward carefully, but not carelessly, being mindful of the needs of our neighbor. Learning now how to do things differently perhaps… Take care of your families, and all who are of the household of faith. Read good books, talk to one another on the phone. Be kind to your neighbors. And let your endurance, and patience, and inner peace, be the occasion which prompts others to ask concerning the hope that is within you.

March 29, 2020

Fr. Marc Dunaway

Like most of you, Betsy and I have watched the news, consulted with family, wondered and worried about what we can and should do. We are at times afraid, at other times not so much. But all the time there is the relentless uncertainty of it all. Will I get sick? Will anyone I know die from this? When and how will this all end? Will we recover? Can you believe this is happening? I asked Betsy, how can anyone possibly know what to say that is encouraging? She said to me: ‘But everything we believe as Christians is still the same.’ She was right and that is our comfort…. It is not for this life alone that we are living, but for the life of the Kingdom of God in the age to come! This is what we have always believed, is it not? And it has not changed, pandemic or no. So as we continue in the weeks of Lent we can pray, ‘Bring us, O Jesus, even us, to Your Holy Resurrection and to Your heavenly Kingdom.'(You can listen to the entire homily online on our livestream video link.)

March 22, 2020

Protodeacon Pat Lamb

As Christians we are to love God and love our neighbors, love our enemies, and love our self. Are you closeted in your house today, wondering how your life has crashed. No job, no place to go, to meet your friends or gather with relatives? Giving is therapy for the soul. It keeps the heart open to others and sensitive to their needs. Giving is also the secret of a mentally and emotionally healthy life…. In this time of social distancing, there are still many ways we can give to others: shovel their driveway or sidewalk, sand their driveway when it’s icy, offer to pick-up groceries, take-out food, or prescriptions, and even look for someone who doesn't have a neighbor, and be that to them. (You can listen to the entire homily online on our livestream video link.)

March 15, 2020

Fr. Marc Dunaway

This past week has been extraordinary as we have listened to the news about the coronavirus spreading across Europe and then approaching the United States like a giant hurricane slowly making landfall from New York to Seattle, and threatening now even the distant and pristine shores of our own home Alaska.… As Jesus looked up to see the man on the stretcher being lowered in front of Him, the Gospel says, 'Jesus saw their faith…' Faith is what made them come up with the idea to take their friend to Jesus. Faith is what made them persevere when they ran into a crowd blocking them from the door. Faith made them climb up on the roof and tear a hole in the tiles to get through. Faith is what made them hold on to their desire and their goal even when they met defeat and despair. Faith is the virtue that keeps us going on even when it seems like the odds are stacked against us. We also have to exercise our faith to be able to change and to attain the great joy that God has for us, a joy that can make even dark anxiety and fear, such as we have felt this week, dissipate like fog in the rays of the morning sun.

March 8, 2020

Fr. Thomas Frizelle

...the icons of the saints, the Theotokos and all the saints, manifest our calling--our personal calling--to become radiant with the divine glory, to reflect the uncreated light, by uniting ourselves to Christ. 'I do join myself to Christ...', such that His life and holiness becomes a personal characteristic in us.

March 1, 2020

Dn. Joseph Ray

To be a Christian to follow Christ means first and foremost to forgive others from our hearts just as Jesus did the image and likeness of God are most clearly reflected in us when we forgive.

February 23, 2020

Fr. Marc Dunaway

Brothers and sisters, it will be each person’s own conscience that condemns him or her on the day we stand before Jesus Christ. All of our accomplishments and successes, offices and awards, that have value in this present world will be stripped away and forgotten. Only one thing will remain and this is the main lesson of today’s Gospel: Did we learn to show love to other people and did we manifest this in love in real and practical ways?