Give Thanks unto the Lord

This week on the mind of every American is whether or not to gather for a celebration on Thanksgiving Day. The spreading of the pandemic in recent weeks has created a new dilemma for politicians and Church leaders. Should we gather or should we stay home this year for Thanksgiving? Each and every Divine Liturgy is a Feast of Thanksgiving in the Orthodox Church, whether or not it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. As Orthodox Christians we gather, as our ancestors gathered... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, November 22, 2020
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The Three Choices in Life:

The Three Choices in Life: Good, Evil, and God's Will Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, There are always three or more choices in life, but the Enemy who is the Father of all lies (John 8:44), does his utmost to only let you see the two choices. He shows us two options, two extremes: to do good entirely on our own or to give up and do his will. Christ God tells us clearly that without Him, we can do nothing [good] on our own (John 15:5). We live in and are born in a fallen... Read More
Posted by Fr Simeon Pardalis at Saturday, November 21, 2020
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And who is my Neighbor?

The Gospel tells of a certain lawyer who “stood up and tested” Jesus trying to trick Him. He asked a question many of us ask either directly or in the secret of our prayers, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10.25) Our contemporary society seems to be preoccupied with this question. In hospital waiting rooms every day, family members of terminally ill patients are asking doctors, “What can we do to save his life?” Hundreds of millions... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, November 15, 2020
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Saturday, November 14th...

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Saturday, November 14th, is the day before the 40-day fast of Christmas. On this day we also we celebrate the memory of our Holy Apostle Philip. Apostle Philip was called by our Lord just after Apostle Peter. As we are told in the Holy Gospel of John, Philip was from the same city as the Apostles Andrew and Peter; Bethsaida. (John 1: 43) Philip started his Apostleship even before our Lord send him and the other Apostles to preach the Good News! He... Read More
Posted by Fr Simeon Pardalis at Saturday, November 14, 2020
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Change Your Expectations of God

In our daily prayers, many times we ask God for a variety of blessings. The blessings we ask from God have a wide range, from relationship issues to employment issues to physical issues, all in need of healing. These issues are very personal to us, and as the saying goes, we know what we want. We go to God in prayer, hoping and sometimes even expecting, to receive exactly what we want from God. And as the saying goes, you can’t always have what you want.  In the Gospel for 7th... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, November 8, 2020
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The Daily Readings of the Gospel...

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,  The Daily Readings of the Gospel and Epistle and even the readings from the night before for Vespers, are all interconnected and combined are a centralized teaching that the Church Fathers wanted to present to us. Saturday morning's Epistle and Gospel are an excellent example of this. The Epistle, for Saturday, teaches us the concept that "So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please..." our Lord Jesus Christ (2... Read More
Posted by Fr Simeon Pardalis at Saturday, November 7, 2020
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The World Needs More UNmercenaries

Today the Orthodox Church commemorates the memory of the Saints Cosmas and Damian, the Unmercenaries. Trained in medicine, they treated people FREE OF CHARGE in the NAME OF CHRIST. In today’s political environment it has become almost second nature to hear someone speak about the need for universal health care. For sure the cost of healthcare in our nation has gotten out of control with premiums so high that many families hold down a second job JUST for health insurance, and if the... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, November 1, 2020
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What is truth?

“What is truth?” Is a question that many have asked. Christ has given us the exact definition of Truth, Himself (John 14:6). The Truth is not something that belongs to us. We cannot own truth. The only way to have some ownership of the Truth is by sharing it with others. The Truth is the Light of Christ that we cannot hide under a basket (Luke 8:16) as Saturday’s Gospel Reading tells us. If we hide an open flame under a basket, the basket will catch flame. In the same way, we... Read More
Posted by Fr Simeon Pardalis at Saturday, October 31, 2020
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Don’t Allow Greed to Send Christ Away

After Jesus cast out legion demons from someone, the demons entered a herd of swine. As a reaction to having the demons enter, the entire herd ran off a cliff and drowned. The demons were so violent and oppressive, the swine just couldn’t handle the presence of so many demons. Demons have a nasty effect on people, but there is always a limit to their abilities. During the exorcism prayers of every baptism, the Church recalls this Gospel story, as the demons are cast out of the... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, October 25, 2020
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God is Speaking to You

It is a fairly common question especially when we are struggling with something in our lives. “Is God speaking to me? If He is, why can’t I understand? Why can’t this struggle end? Why can’t I change?” In our struggle, when we can’t seem to hear God, we presume the answer to these questions is, “No. God is not speaking, He isn’t even listening to me.” There is nothing that could be further from the truth. In the Gospel lesson for today we... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, October 11, 2020
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When You Least Expect It

If you’re like me, you spend every day wondering what the future has in store for you. If you’re like me, you spend a great deal of energy planning for a future you want, but acknowledge may never actually happen. If you’re like me, every now and then, you look up to heaven and ask, “When Lord, when?” If you’re like me, the answer eventually comes when you least expect it. That is one of the many lessons of the Gospel today. God has a great opportunity... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, September 27, 2020
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What Have We Learned from the Pandemic

The past six months have been quite a struggle for us, both our Cathedral Community, and for us as citizens in general. Whether we agree with one side or the other about the proper precautions and safety measures put in place by the Church, or our local, State and Federal governments, one thing is certain; we have been forced to place the needs of others before our own. In the Gospel for the Sunday after the Holy Cross we hear Christ’s invitation to the Chrstian struggle.... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, September 20, 2020
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How Does the Church Grow?

The Gospels are filled with moments when Jesus warned the Jews that if they were not willing to bear fruit for God, He would remove them from the Church, and invite others to enter the Kingdom. As Christians, we are thankful that God has invited us to enter into His Church to become the New Israel, and receive the adoption as sons and daughters of God. But we should be careful not to become too comfortable with our entrance into the Church. In the Parable of the Vineyard (Matthew... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, September 6, 2020
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When God Loves

On the Sunday before Holy Cross, the Church again reminds us of God’s love, and the great sacrifice that love exemplifies. On this Sunday we hear what is arguably the most quoted verse of the New Testament. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3.16) We see this quote in the stands at all sorts of sporting events, in crowds, on highways, just about anywhere we see people... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, September 6, 2020
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End of Summer; End of Self

September 1st is the first day of the New Ecclesiastical Year, and with it a sense of newness. A new calendar, a new series of Gospel lessons, a new cycle of Feast of Christ and the Theotokos, but most of all it brings us a sense of reflection on the end, not of summer but of our time on earth. The Gospel lessons at the end of summer are filled with reference to the end of time, the kingdom of heaven, and eternal life. “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, August 30, 2020
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Forgiveness Demands Forgiveness

The Gospel lessons we hear each Sunday don’t often include Christ’s direct warnings about the future judgement. More often we hear the Lord teach in parables, as He does today, but the lesson is often left in poetic terms for our hearts to peel back the layers of the parable to determine which part is for our inspiration. Today’s lesson is different because it ends with a very clear warning from Christ, “So My heavenly Father also will do to you, if each of you,... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, August 23, 2020
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Faith Requires Time to Grow

When faced with not being able to heal a man of a demon, the Apostles “came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’” His answer was a rebuke of their faith. “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.” (Matthew 17.19-20) A mustard seed is among the smallest seeds, but in time it produces a... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, August 16, 2020
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The Eye of the Storm

Living in Florida we know the meaning of the eye of the storm, that calm moment when a hurricane passes directly overhead. Surrounded by sometimes horrific conditions, the eye is that brief moment when we can catch our breath, sometimes literally, before the storm returns. I think maybe that might have been the experience of St Peter in today’s Gospel lesson. We hear the story each year around this time, fittingly during hurricane season, so we have become familiar with the... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, August 9, 2020
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What Keeps You Up at Night?

What Keeps You Up at Night? It is a common problem. We retire to sleep, only to lay there with our minds panicked about the next day. The unresolved issues of the past day combined with the anticipated obstacles of the next, cause us to toss and turn all night long, barely getting enough sleep to think we ever closed our eyes. We did of course, then only to set the stage for a night filled with anxious dreams. The morning comes only to remind us of the stress of yet another day, and... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, June 28, 2020
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A New Way of Thinking

As Jesus was beginning His public ministry, He called upon several individuals to follow Him. These men we know as His Disciples and Apostles. Each of them had unique talents they had received from God, and each of them had personally been praying and preparing for the arrival of the Messiah. When Jesus called them, they immediately dropped what they were doing and followed Him, sometimes even leaving their family behind. Some of these men were fishermen, and in calling them, Jesus... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, June 14, 2020
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In the World but not Of the World

Today is the Sunday of All Saints, the day which the Church commemorates all the holy men and women, known and unknown, that have lived lives dedicated to God. The saints and the Saints, all have one thing in common. They all lived in the world but did not live according to the ways of the world. That is the definition of the word, “holy.” To be holy, based on the Greek word άγιος (agios) means to be “not of the earth.” How can this be when... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, June 14, 2020
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Rivers of Living Water

When our Lord stood up on Pentecost before His Passion, He declared, “He who believes in Me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7.38) He was speaking about the Holy Spirit, which we as Orthodox Christians believe we received at our baptism. We also believe the Holy Spirit has been guiding the Church “into all truth.” (John 16.13) Today, the Feast of Pentecost is the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, June 7, 2020
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The Promise of Unity

Shortly before our Lord was crucified, He prayed to the Father, “I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Mine; all Mine are Yours, and yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father keep them in Your name, which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17.9-11)   This promise for unity from... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, May 31, 2020
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Blinded by Judgment

One day Jesus encountered a man who had been born blind. Before healing this man, Jesus had a discussion with his disciples. They wanted to know if he was born blind because maybe he sinned in the womb, or maybe his parents had sinned. Christ says, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed.” (John 9.3) After the man had been healed, the conversation shifted to the crowd of witnesses. They couldn’t believe their eyes, so they brought... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, May 24, 2020
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Now it is Our Turn

When Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke with a woman named Photini at Jacob’s Well, He lowered Himself on more than one level. First, she was a Samaritan, and second, she was a woman. “For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans,” (John 4.9) and it was unheard of in those days for men to meet with women in this way. In this encounter we see the love of God put into action through condescension. He lowered Himself to her level, but He never changed who He was. Instead, He began the... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, May 17, 2020
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Honoring Motherhood

Each year on Mothers’ Day, we honor the women who bring life into the world. These women, our mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins, and friends possess a unique and God-given power to become co-creators with Him and bring all human life into the world. Without motherhood, we would be lost. Without motherhood, we would not know love. Through the God-given stewardship of motherhood and by example, our mothers teach us to love one another, to sacrifice for each other, to serve each other,... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, May 10, 2020
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It Takes Courage

On the third Sunday of Pascha, known as the Sunday of the Myrrhbearing Women we commemorate not just the ministry of women, but the joy that comes from courage. In the Gospel for this Sunday, we hear two stories about courage and faith. In the first story, Joseph of Arimathea takes up his courage and requests the body of Jesus from Pilate. Joseph was a wealthy man that was willing to risk his prestige and wealth to bury the body of His Lord. He was rewarded by God, and Pilate... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Friday, May 1, 2020
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Christ is Risen! Don't Waste It

Last week at the AGAPE Vespers, which we celebrated on Pascha morning, we heard the story of when Christ first appeared to His Disciples after His Resurrection. While they were gathered, locked in a room by themselves “for fear of the Jews,” Christ appeared to them. We too were, not quite locked up but, in our homes for fear of a virus. Unfortunately, Saint Thomas was not present to see Christ for Himself, so he refused to believe the word of his friends, the other Disciples. ... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Tuesday, April 28, 2020
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An Important Message from the Parish Council President

Dear Parishioners,  As we approach the most important and joyous celebration of our Lord's resurrection, we must also endure our greatest challenge since World War II.    As our parents and grandparents survived and kept our Holy Orthodox Church viable, we must also do the same. Our enemy is an invisible one, thus making our fight a difficult one.    We must be prepared to sacrifice. This Pascha will be one we have never experienced before. We... Read More
at Tuesday, April 14, 2020
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Pascha 2020 Message from Fr Athanasios

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Risen Lord, Christ is Risen! The past several weeks have been stressful on everyone, not just in our Cathedral Community, but throughout the globe. The current global situaiton has truly shaken humanity to its core. We are daily, sometimes more than once per day, being expected to react to news from our political leaders. This has created additional stress for us as we attempt to plan for the holiest season of the year. Great Lent this... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Saturday, April 11, 2020
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What does it mean to be great?

When Saint James and Saint John, the Apostles of Christ, ask Jesus to honor their commitment with special seats in heaven Jesus said, “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” (Mark 10.33-34) He said this to show the difference between how the world acts toward others as opposed to how God wants us to act toward others. We Christians are not supposed to desire seats of honor. We Christians are not... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, April 5, 2020
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Unexpected Benefit

I’ve been a priest for thirteen years, a clergyman for fifteen, and worked for the Church for nearly twenty-seven years. In all my years in Church work, one common frustration I hear is, “Between work and the kids’ schedules, I don’t have enough time to pray like the Church wants.” During Great Lent, the Church invites us to get more intense in our spiritual struggle. We are asked to go to Church more, say our prayers more, fast more, and help other people more.... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, March 29, 2020
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Today is About History AND Faith

The Church has never been afraid of history. History is filled with happy events as well as sorrowful events, but it cannot be unwritten or changed. As human beings, we study history to learn of our past and to improve our future, as the old saying goes, “He who does not know history is doomed to repeat it.” Church history is important not only so we can avoid repeating the “bad parts”, but so that we can emphasize the good parts. Today is one of those days. The first... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, March 8, 2020
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Judgment is Coming

On the Second Sunday of the Triodion, the Church commemorates “Judgment Sunday” during which we hear the Last Judgment as found in Matthew 25.31-46. We all know the story, “I was hungry and you fed me….” But do we know WHY the Church offers us THIS story on THIS particular Sunday? Many people believe that God is going to judge using a scale with “sins” on one side, and “good deeds” on the other. So long as the “good deeds”... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, February 23, 2020
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Don't Confuse Permission with Approval

On the second Sunday of the Triodion, the Church calls our attention to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and the beauty of repentance. In the story, just to remind you, the younger son felt that he deserved his inheritance early, before his father’s death. He approached his father and said, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.” (Luke 15.12) The father gave the son permission to take his inheritance and journey “to a far country,” in which he... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, February 16, 2020
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How to Train Your Mouth

Since today is the first day of the Triodion (what we call PreLent) we heard in today’s Gospel lesson the story of the Publican and Pharisee. As I wrote before, and have often said from the pulpit, getting into heaven isn’t about whether or not we follow all the rules. Getting into heaven requires a loving and Christ-like heart, and a life lived in communion with Christ. Since the Pharisee in today’s Gospel lesson made such a big deal about following all the rules, including... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, February 9, 2020
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You Can’t See God Without a Little Planning

When Jesus was coming to town, Zacchaeus wanted nothing more than to see Him, but he was short and a large crowd had surrounded Jesus. Zacchaeus knew that Jesus would pass by soon, and he had to come up with a plan if there was any hope of seeing Jesus. So he made a plan. He planned to climb a tree so, even if the crowd was large, he would be able to see Jesus. And Jesus took notice. “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” (Luke 19.5) His plan... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, January 26, 2020
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Be Grateful

Every morning we wake up to another day filled with opportunities and choices, opportunities to honor God with our choices. In our morning prayers, we often ask God to bless our day and maybe even ask Him to intercede and help us with a particular struggle, or we may ask Him to help others in their struggles. Suffice it to say, our prayers are more often than not, filled with requests of God. The Gospel story today (Luke 17.12-19) tells us of a similar situation. As Christ enters a village,... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, January 19, 2020
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Thank You!

For over one hundred years, our St Nicholas Community has celebrated the Feast of Epiphany in much the same manner as faithful Orthodox Christians throughout the world have done for centuries. Over the past eleven decades, our celebration has become known throughout the world, drawing visitors and spectators from all corners of the globe, and this year was no different. Well, it was a bit different. Not only did we welcome His Eminence Archbishop ELPIDOPHOROS of America on the occasion of... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, January 12, 2020
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New Year Resolutions

This week is the week that everyone focuses on improving something about life in the New Year. As clocks strike midnight all across the globe, good intentioned men and women scurry to confirm New Year resolutions. Of course many if not most if not all New Year resolutions end up in the garbage pail by the end of the first week of the New Year, but that won’t stop millions across the globe for faithfully committing to improving their life next year. By no means am I against New Year... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, December 29, 2019
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RSVP - No Regrets Please

When we receive an invitation to a banquet, the first thing most of us do is to quickly look at who sent the invitation. We do this before we even look to see if we are available at the time for the banquet. We do this because, if we consider the person who has invited us to be important enough, even if we are busy that night, we will likely find a way to attend the banquet. If we don’t like the person, or don’t even know if we know the person, even if we are available, chances are... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, December 15, 2019
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We Have Been Set Free

When Jesus met a young woman who had been sick for eighteen years, He said to her, “Woman you are freed from your infirmity.” (Luke 13.13) You might think this was a good thing, after being sick for so long, but the crowd that was watching wasn’t so happy. Like other miracles of Christ, this one also took place on the Sabbath. Once she was healed, she immediately glorified God. According to the Old Testament Law, it was not permitted to work on the Sabbath, so the crowd... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, December 8, 2019
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A Simple Multiple Choice Life

You are sitting by the side of the road selling fresh-caught shrimp when suddenly Jesus Christ comes walking by, surrounded by a crowd of followers. Do you… Keep selling your shrimp as if nothing special is happening? Stop selling your shrimp and sit perfectly still so you don’t disturb Him? Try to sell shrimp to the crowd? Drop your shrimp, cry out “Lord, Have mercy?” and then follow Him wherever He goes? Sometimes life is... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, December 1, 2019
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What Are You Willing to Give Away for Christ?

When a certain ruler asked Christ, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18.18) he ultimately went away sad and depressed because he was a wealthy man. He had properly done all the things that the Law had required of him. He was what we might consider a “good man” by any standard. By his own confession he had done all the right things since his youth. But when pushed by the ruler, Christ said, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, November 24, 2019
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Come Dream With Me for Our Future

The last two weeks in our Cathedral Family have been, to say the least, traumatic with the departure of Fr Sampson after he and his family had given themselves for four years to the life of our Family. We wish them God’s blessings as he begins his new ministry in Pensacola, Florida today. We were saddened by the news of his quick departure, but we are a strong and resilient community. We will continue to grow closer to each other and God in our spiritual journey. We will never forget the... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, November 17, 2019
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A Line in the Sand

It is an old expression, “To draw a line in the sand,” which means to set a limit across which you refuse to cross or which you refuse to allow others (or even dare others) to cross. And it is something most of us do every day…normally regretting the outcome. When we draw a line in the sand we tell those around us that we are not willing to listen or negotiate our position. It is a statement of barriers rather than bridges, and it tends to limit progress rather than extend... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, November 3, 2019
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Lessons Learned

In a society which elevates self promotion as worthy traits, it is difficult to imagine learning a lesson from a woman crawling on her hands and knees to secretly be healed by God. In a society which awards self accomplishment, it’s even more difficult to accept that it is honorable to sit and wait for healing rather than demand immediate attention. Our society, while offering wonderful opportunities for anyone and everyone to express their God-given talents, the last character trait we... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, October 27, 2019
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What is Your Demon?

Many times we read the Gospel stories about demoniacs like the one in today’s Gospel (Luke 8.26-39) and we think there is nothing relevant for us today. Most of us don’t even believe demons are real, let alone know of anyone who may be possessed by them. Of course, they are real, but the truth is, even if we do not suffer from demons we can still benefit from this story from the Holy Scriptures. We all have demons that control us. They may not be the sort that are described in... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, October 20, 2019
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Your Soul Cannot Remain the Same Year After Year

In the Parable of the Sower found in Luke 8.5-15, our Lord reveals to us the condition of our souls. Our soul is either hard, filled with the weeds of temptation, blocked by the rocks of struggle, or rich fertile soil. Year after year, God, just like the dedicated farmer scatters seed, sends out the Word of God to every soul no matter what condition. If our soul is prepared to receive the Word, our faith bears fruit; if not, our faith withers away. The work of every farmer, and therefore the... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, October 13, 2019
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