Musings from the High Desert

Sermons from Saint Anthony of the Desert Mission

Musings from the High Desert


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  • September 9, 2015
    This week Fr. Gabriel once again seeks to unearth the treasures buried in a few short verses from Paul in his return letter to the Corinthians. These are the heart of the Epistle for this week, reminding us of God's positive action toward us through Christ and in the Holy Spirit.
  • September 2, 2015
    This week Fr. Gabriel again works with the Epistle lesson from the final chapter of I Corinthians, chapter 16, focusing only on verses 13 and 14, where Paul gives us one of his wonderful nutshell lessons that encompass the gist of what he has been saying throughout the letter. (Parenthetically listeners might want to know that Fr. Gabriel grounds his proclamation in study of the text, meditation upon the conclusions of that study, and then he constructs an outline for preaching. He uses notes but no full manuscript in order to achieve a closer rapport with the congregation.)
  • August 28, 2015
    The western churches that use lectionaries have tried to coordinate these lessons in the three-year lectionary in use since the Seventies. In Orthodoxy the Epistles do not coordinate to the Gospels. Consequently, Fr. Gabriel usually preaches on the Epistle lesson at Saturday Great Vespers and then on the Gospel at the Sunday Divine Liturgy in order to give consideration of both texts. The Epistle from I Corinthians 15, however, the chapter on the Resurrection, came in the rotation recently and Fr. Gabriel decided to use it for the Sunday homily to reach a wider audience. Listen in on his approach to this classic passage.
  • September 16, 2015
    Fr. Gabriel considers the two metaphors in the Epistle text for the week (separate from the text for the Dedication of the Church of the Resurrection) from II Corinthians 4. The first metaphor is the famous one about clay jars holding precious treasure, as was true in that era when people kept their gold or silver in humble clay jars. We explore the potential meanings of this text and then move on to consider the next verses in which Paul switches to a military metaphor of preparation for battle and suffering. The two metaphors are tied together by considering our evanescent nature. We are humble and inadequate vessels to bear the Gospel, yet we can bear the cross and resurrection of Christ to others "in our bodies".
  • September 23, 2015
    Fr. Gabriel continues with the resurrection Epistles from II Corinthians, this week from the sixth chapter. In the first verses of this chapter, Paul urges his hearers not to receive the Gospel "in vain." We will consider what this means, working from Paul's statement of the gracious gift of God that concludes chapter 5. Paul's use of the Servant Poem from Isaiah 49 sets up his audience to hear about their reception of the "mighty acts of God" in the person of Christ.
  • October 15, 2015
    This week Fr. Gabriel explores the Epistle lesson from II Corinthians 11:31-12:9. Here we see Paul as Christ-mystic and also Paul as faithful person capable of understanding suffering within the framework of God's Presence. This pericope contains the famous passage many people know and have repeated over the course of their lives: "My grace is sufficient for you, and my power is made perfect in weakness."
  • October 7, 2015
    This week Fr. Gabriel considers the Epistle lesson, II Corinthians 9:6-11, and its preceding chapter and following verses. He works with the text regarding Paul's request for an offering grounded in the grace which has fulfilled the lives of the Corinthian Christians from three angles: the church's abilities at responding to human needs out of mercy over against the industry of service; the false gospel of prosperity that is given the lie by Paul's text; and the inner strength that we receive in terms of meaning and purpose in life through the grace of Christ, a strength and fulfillment so obviously lacking in contemporary society and whose loss was again demonstrated in the tragic events in Oregon this past week.
  • September 30, 2015
    Fr. Gabriel considers the conclusion of II Corinthians 6, where Paul enjoins his hearers to thread a way through the culture that honors commitment to Christ without caving in to the Zeitgeist.The early Fathers of the Church stressed that we need to make individual decisions that will bring us into the light rather than into the darkness. Each cultural issue must be taken on its own merit, and we can enter into alliances with others for social good without knowing everything about their positions. We have to remain vigilant but at the same time we need to be open to alliances for the overall benefit of the culture in which we find ourselves.
  • October 21, 2015
    As we begin the reading through Paul's magisterial Epistle to the Galatians, Fr. Gabriel brings an overview of Paul's mission efforts. How did Paul perceive himself within Judaism, and what was his mission intended to do? We also consider some of the misunderstandings or Paul's teaching that have grown over the years.

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