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Father Luke Veronis

The Message of Pascha - God is In Control

If we learned anything from our journey through Holy Week, it should be this. Nothing happens outside the knowledge and will of God. No matter how dark and unsettling things appeared during the Passion of Christ – especially with the betrayal of Judas, the rejection of Jesus by His own people, the hypocrisy and blindness of the religious leaders, the cruelty of the Roman soldiers, and the unfairness of the perfect man becoming a sacrificial lamb crucified on the Cross for an ungrateful world – nothing happened outside the knowledge and will of God. Continue Reading »

What Shall We Offer to Christ?

Following the fall of communism in Albania, there was a state-run orphanage where 100 boys and girls lived under squalid conditions. With the freedom of religion came the opportunity for the Church to be more involved in these state institutions, and to bring such children the joy and good news of Christmas. A priest and some of his parishioners happened to go to this orphanage and share the Christmas Story with all the children. He told them about the Virgin Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem finding no room in the inn. How the holy family found refuge in a cave, where the baby Jesus was born, and how they placed Him in a manger among the animals. Continue Reading »

Called to be Saints!

Our Church calendar is filled with names of saints - kings, bishops, priests, monks, martyrs, as well as common people like you and me, men and women, old and young from every walk of life. One unique factor about all these saints, however, which may differ from our own lives, is their total and absolute dedication to and love for Jesus Christ and His Church. They all had such a strong desire for the Kingdom of Heaven, that they placed this passion before all else! Continue Reading »

Overcoming Our Biases and Prejudices

In a fairly recent study published in Psychological Science, evidence was given to show that the human brain categorizes people within the first second after seeing a face. In other words, our brain very quickly will separate people according to groups, typically in the “us” verses “them” category. This separation most often occurs according to race. Even infants as young as 3 months old showed a preference for their own racial group, over some other racial group. Continue Reading »

Is the Light of Christ a Shining or a Blinding Light?

Jesus sees a man blind from birth and tells his followers, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (Jn 9:5) In other words, He says, “I have come to bring light to those who live in darkness!” This promise of light shining in the darkness repeats what Jesus proclaimed earlier in the Gospel of John after his encounter with forgiving a woman caught in adultery, when he stated - “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Continue Reading »

The Amazing Life in the Early Church

The first Christians continued steadfastly in the apostles TEACHINGS. They SHARED ALL THINGS in common, even selling their possessions to help those in need. They PRAYED DAILY in the temple and in each others’ houses. They ate their food with GLADNESS and SIMPLICITY OF HEART. They were FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT and SPOKE THE WORD OF THE LORD with BOLDNESS. With great power they GAVE WITNESS TO THE RESURRECTION of the Lord Jesus. When they were beaten for speaking in the name of Jesus, they REJOICED that they were counted WORTHY TO SUFFER SHAME for Christ’s name. Daily and in every house THEY DID NOT CEASE TEACHING and PREACHING Jesus as the Christ! And GREAT GRACE was upon them as the Lord added to the church daily those being saved. (Acts 2:42-46; 4:31-34; 5:40-42) Continue Reading »

The Final, Post-Resurrectional Words of Christ

When one is dying, typically the final words of a dying person are among the most cherished. They often will give you a unique perspective into what the dying person values, and what he most wants to pass on as his/her legacy. I know that if I was dying, I would think very carefully about what I wanted to say, and how I would want my children and friends to remember me. Continue Reading »

The Great Cosmic Joke

In some parts of Greece, there is a tradition that the day after Pascha is a day devoted to telling jokes. This tradition came about because they said that during Holy Week God pulled the greatest joke on Satan himself, when Christ willingly accepted to die on the Cross. Satan thought he won - that he had defeated Jesus, that darkness had conquered light, evil had conquered good, and death had conquered life – Satan thought he had won only to find out that when Christ entered the devil’s domain, hades, he could not contain the Eternal One. Continue Reading »

God Is My Help

“God is my help.” That is what the name Lazarus means. “God is my help.” And truly, God was the help of his friend Lazarus. Imagine, Lazarus died. He was buried in a tomb for four days. Lazarus tasted the terrible mystery of death. He witnessed the horrors of the evil one in His glory in Hades. He did not know for how long he would suffer in this terror of darkness. Yet after only four days, in the midst of all hopelessness, he hears a voice calling him – “Lazarus, come forth!” Continue Reading »

Humbly Serving One Another

The other day I watched a nurse gently take the socks off of an elderly patient and begin to massage their feet and then carefully rub them with lotion. The tender way in which the nurse spoke with her patient, carefully taking off the socks, lovingly addressing her patient the entire time so that she would not feel embarrassed, and truly making the patient feel that she really wanted to be doing what she was doing, touched me in a special way. I got the sense that the nurse truly cared about what she was doing. This was not simply a job to her, but a tender act of love. Continue Reading »

The Kingdom of God as a Celebration

Christmas day – how will you celebrate? Will you gather with family and friends, eating a great feast, listening to music, and enjoying one another’s company? Think of the happiest moments of your life and reflect on the type of celebrations you had. One thing we can say about all humanity, the world over, and that is we all love to celebrate. Continue Reading »

Casting Out the Darkness and Putting on Christ

Today we hear about a man terrorized and paralyzed with a legion of demons, and yet Jesus simply casts them aside and offers new life to a pathetic, broken man! Continue Reading »

Using Time Wisely to Cultivate the Seeds of Faith

Every day has 1440 minutes. If we sleep eight hours a day, that leaves us awake 960 minutes a day. What do we do with those minutes? How do we pass the precious time that God gives us each day of our lives? Continue Reading »

Imitate the Compassion of Christ

How many of us are deeply disturbed and greatly saddened by the political circus we continually watch in the news. No matter what political side one defends, I think many Americans are dismayed and depressed about the anger, bitterness, callousness and even hatred that people feel for others who disagree with their own opinion or political view. Is anyone actually listening to those who are politically opposite themselves, and trying not only to understand the other perspective, but to see and feel what the other side is experiencing. The vitriol comments thrown at people from the other side, and at those who disagree with our own opinion, is extremely disturbing. Continue Reading »

What Does Christ Expect of Us?

What does Jesus expect from us? Do you ever think about that? What does our Lord want us to do in our lives, and what does He expect us to offer back to Him? Continue Reading »

The Ultimate Goal and the Path to Reach It

“Learning How to Exert Self-Control.” I read this interesting article by Pamela Druckerman, in which she talks about Dr. Walter Mischel, a professor at Columbia, who is known as the “Marshmallow Man” for a test he did 50 years ago with pre-school kids. He tested how long 5 year old kids could sit at a table with cookies on it. If these children could resist eating the sweets for 15 minutes, they would get double the sweets; otherwise they would just get one. Future studies followed these children and showed that those who waited longest for the sweets went on to have higher SAT scores, and later in life were healthier, earned more advanced degrees, and coped better with stress. In some ways, one could say they ended up more successful. Continue Reading »

God Does Not Want to Condemn, He Wants to Love!

God doesn’t want to condemn us, He wants to love us! Think about that statement. God doesn’t want to condemn us. He’s not looking to punish us. He’s not sick and tired of us, wanting to reject us. NO! We need to understand God for who He is and what He really wants from us. And that is, He wants to love us! Continue Reading »

The Beginning - The Good News of Jesus Christ

Imagine this setting. Jesus has lived in Nazareth for 30 years. Of course he’s well known in the village. Everyone knows one another in Nazareth. People like Jesus because he’s lived a quiet, humble, and pious Jewish life. Everyone thinks of him as the son of Joseph the carpenter. They know Mary his mother as well. Some would surely remember the scandal of Mary’s pregnancy three decades earlier, and the strange stories that circulated about his birth, but 30 years have passed since all those events, and now everything seemed pretty normal. Of course for a Jew, it was a little unusual that Jesus was a grown man and still unmarried. Yet everyone overlooked that because they liked Jesus and his kind, gentle, loving demeanor. Whenever he was around, he encouraged people and lifted them up. Whenever he was around, his presence seemed to bless people. He was a hard worker, quiet, humble, and in the eyes of all a good Jewish man. Continue Reading »

Divine Faith That Moves Mountains

In 1924, the Englishman George Mallory and a group of men tried to be the first people to climb to the top of Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. After enduring unbelievable hardships, they reached the 25,000 feet mark. From this point Mallory and his partner set out for the summit, but their heroic attempt failed. They were buried in the snows of the Himalayan peak. When their colleagues returned to England to tell their story, one of them gave a report before a large audience in London. At the end of his talk, after describing the difficulties and tragedies of their expedition, he turned before a picture of Mt. Everest projected on a screen, and spoke to the mountain, “Everest, we tried to conquer you once, but you overpowered us. We tried to conquer you a second time, but again you were too great for us. But Everest, I want you to know that we are going to conquer you, for you can’t grow any bigger, but we can!” Continue Reading »

Keeping Our Eyes On Christ

What happens when an eagle, flying in the sky, meets a storm? Well, the eagle does not try to fly away from the storm. Instead, as the storm sweeps in, the eagle sets his wings at the proper angle so that the winds will lift him above the storm. While the storm is punishing the earth below, the eagle is soaring above it, using the very winds of the storm itself to propel it above the storm! Continue Reading »

Showing Compassion to the Weary and Tired

There is a story of a simple monk who one day was praying in his cell. As this humble man prayed, suddenly a bright light began shining in his room. He looked up and saw Christ in all his glory, surrounded by the angelic powers. The monk gazed at this vision filled with awe and exaltation. He felt himself richly blessed to see such a vision, and his heart was humbled with love and thanksgiving that the Lord should show such a revelation to a humble monk. Continue Reading »

Being Transfigured

Why do we come to Church each week? What are we seeking from our Christian faith? Or maybe we need to ask, are we consciously and seriously seeking anything from our faith? Ultimately, what is our goal as Orthodox Christians in this brief life here on planet earth? Continue Reading »

Confession: "Your Sins Are Forgiven You"

How many people have a past sin that still haunts them? How about some hidden secret that you want no one to know about? Is there anything from your past that you are not proud of, or which lays heavy on your heart? I know people who are broken and hurting, who have made past mistakes and poor choices, and who can’t get beyond them. In fact, I see how some people allow their past to actually paralyze their present and future. Continue Reading »

All Saints Sunday

The saints of the Church represent quite a wide range of fascinating people. Some were apostles, prophets and martyrs; bishops, priests and ascetics; men and women; rich and poor; old and young; some who were murderers and thieves early in their lives; others were prostitutes and quite immoral in their behavior; all who were sick and broken to some degree, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually; many who were quite lost in their lives. Continue Reading »

Casting Out Demons in Our Lives

Do you realize that the very first thing we do in the Sacrament of Baptism, which is our entrance into the Christian way of life, is to renounce Satan and all his works and all his worship and all his angels and all his pride? In other words, we begin our Christian life by acknowledging the reality of the devil and his demons, and then declaring an all out war upon them by renouncing them. Even by spitting upon them! We totally and absolutely reject Satan’s demonic side of life! Continue Reading »

A Light to Influence Others

“The criminal in your community may be less guilty for his crime than you, his Christian neighbor,” the great Russian writer Dostoievski wrote in his book The Brothers Karamazov. “For you could have been a light to the evil doer, yet you were not. For the man remained beside you in darkness. Had you been the kind of example you ought to have been and allowed your light to shine on that lost man’s path, perhaps he might not have stumbled into his crime. If you had loved your neighbor as yourself and lavished upon him some of the care you generously lavish upon yourself, shared some of the warmth God has privileged you to possess, that criminal might have changed in time.” Continue Reading »

Seek First the Kingdom of God - The Life of Fr. Arseny

“Fr. Arseny helped so many people that we, looking at him, began helping others. How did I become a believer?” noted a former communist atheist, “After watching Fr. Arseny for a long time, how could I NOT become what he was! He was a light in unbearable darkness!” Continue Reading »

Fools For Christ

Who wants to be considered a fool? Anyone? Foolishness is not a virtue that we admire, or strive to attain, and yet, today as we celebrate the Holy Apostles, the first followers of Jesus Christ, and a day after we honored the Apostles Peter and Paul, the foremost leaders of the Apostles, we hear in St. Paul’s Epistle about the “foolishness” of the first Christians. Continue Reading »

Suffering as an Opportunity to See God: Sunday of the Blind Man

In today’s Gospel lesson, we get a glimpse into the problem of suffering. Many people often ask me, “Why do people suffer? Why does God allow pain and problems in the world? The disciples posed this question to Jesus today in the Gospel lesson. Continue Reading »

Sunday of the Paralytic: The Plague of Lonliness

Someone once asked a famous doctor, “What is the most devastating disease among people today.” He immediately replied, “Loneliness. The longer I practice medicine, the surer I am that no condition is so painful and universal as loneliness.” Continue Reading »

Great and Holy Pascha: The Good News of Christ's Resurrection

On this glorious feast of Pascha, let us not listen to the voices of society that try to ridicule and reject the resurrection as some myth. Instead, let us rejoice in hope! Christ is Risen and He offers new life to all the world! We no longer fear anything, even death itself! Continue Reading »

Palm Sunday: Commitment vs. Crowd Mentality

It’s easy to join a crowd and go along with the masses. And we often see how easy it is to get hyped up with mass hysteria. Yet to make a commitment is something quite different. To commit to following a path, despite what the majority say or do, is quite a challenge. Continue Reading »

Greatness in the Eyes of God

How many of us wish to be great in the eyes of God?  I would hope that any serious believer would make this a central goal in life – to be considered great in the eyes of God. And yet, how should we understand such spiritual greatness? What makes someone great? Continue Reading »

The Sanctity of Life by Fr. Luke A. Veronis

I rarely preach politics from the pulpit. I realize in our congregation we have Democrats and Republican; we have those who may be more conservative and others more liberal. Our country is so divided, and if we talk politics, our own church family will quickly become divided. That is, we will become divided if we forget that our ultimate leader is Jesus Christ, and His call is for us to live under the reign of His Kingdom. Continue Reading »

Struggling to Stay on the Faithful Path

“O Faithless generation. How long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you?” (Mk 9:19) Continue Reading »

The Way of the Cross

Let us use these tools of the Lenten season – fasting, discipline, ascesis – to help us cultivate more the essence of our faith – CONCRETE LOVE THROUGH SIMPLE ACTIONS TO ALL PEOPLE! Continue Reading »

The Three-Fold Call of the Annunciation

“Today is the beginning of our salvation, and the revelation of the mystery of ages, 
for the Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin.” Continue Reading »

Seeing God in the “Other”

Let us use these tools of the Lenten season – fasting, discipline, ascesis – to help us cultivate more the essence of our faith – CONCRETE LOVE THROUGH SIMPLE ACTIONS TO ALL PEOPLE! Continue Reading »

The Wings of Humility: The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

“Better is the person who has sinned, if he knows he has sinned and repents, than the person who has not sinned and thinks himself righteous.” Continue Reading »