We must guard against noticing when another parishioner seems careless in the making of the sign of the cross, while we go about demonstrating for all around us, the proper way. Making sweeping signs of the cross that are done in such a way as to be almost a caricature, following up with profound bows, we can end up distracting fellow worshipers in the process. If we make a public display of our fasting, making sure our non-Orthodox family and friends know how strict we are, we miss the point of fasting. If we struggle to make our icon corner the largest and most complete of anyone in the parish, but never stand before it in prayer, we treat it as nothing more than nice art.
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke. (8:26-39)
Every year around this time, mid-October, we hear this powerful somewhat frightening story in the gospels about a man who is possessed by demons. Modern psychologists and scientists tell us that that was probably some kind of mental illness. They tell us that the people of old were not very sophisticated and did not properly understand these things so they attributed them to superstitions. The problem with all of these theories is that they completely ignore the words and actions of Jesus of Nazareth in response to what He has encountered. In addition, these baseless theories ignore what happened to the herd of swine. Something more than psychosis was certainly at work here.
This Homily was offered by Dn. Michael Schlaack on the Feast Day of Prophet Jonah
The glory of God is often revealed to us through our small acts of faithful obedience. It is not always the big, daring, or complicated acts that bring us to a greater understanding of God and His plan for our life. Sometimes it could be a simple act of faithful obedience—maybe even while performing our normal jobs—that helps to open our eyes, so we can see the Savior Who was always before us. The lesson today deals with an important aspect of Christianity: Faithful obedience in even the smallest things will lead to greater glory.
Our lesson in St. Luke’s account opens with a scene that is repeated throughout the Gospels: Jesus teaching the multitude. As was so often the case when Jesus taught, the crowd pressed Him to the point where He asked Simon Peter to take Him out a little way from the shore so that Jesus could continue His teaching. The Gospel does not record exactly what Jesus spoke about, but at the end of the lesson, Jesus instructed Simon to go out deeper and drop the nets into the water. Jesus was going to demonstrate to the people the power of God while providing a clear illustration for His future disciples.