The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 11 months ago

A Full House | The Parable of the Great Banquet Luke 14


The Arena Podcast is the flagship of Patristic Nectar Publications and contains the Sunday Sermons and other theological reflections by Father Josiah Trenham delivered from the ambon of St. Andrew Church in Riverside, California and begun in 2010. Currently there are more than 550 sermons and lectures covering ten years worth of preaching through the liturgical calendar.

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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to have completed our PHILOCALIA project and now happily offers to our customers professional audio recordings of these sacred texts absolutely free. The PHILOCALIA is a collection of ecclesiastical writings from the fourth through fifteen centuries, devoted to inner asceticism, the purification of the heart and the acquisition of unceasing prayer. These holy writings have inspired thirsty Christians throughout the history of the church and provide time tested counsel in the quest for holiness. May God inspire us, in our pursuit of pure prayer, to listen to the Philo Kalia. Please visit our website at patristic nectar dot org. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trennam. In the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. Blessed Lord's Day to all of you, of brothers and sisters. I'm feeling particularly rich, particularly full this morning. It's a preacher's delight to have a great interior conflict about what to reach about, because the subject matter is overflowing. Today is the Feast of St Spiridon, the wonder worker, Bishop of three methus, and I can hardly imagine not preaching about sat spiridon. But I'm not going to preach about sint Spiridon, but I will tell you one story, just as a about to the great saint. Sat Spiridon is from the island of Cyprus. He's the boast of Cyprus, Miracle Worker at the first ECOMENICAL council and a very, very simple man who loved people immensely. There's a beautiful story...

...of his farm was being robbed one night and they had come to steal his sheep and he knew it and he heard it and so he, by his prayer, froze the thieves in the pen on the spot, just frozen and left them there all night long. In the morning he came out to greet them and he told them, dear brothers, dear brothers, I have something for you, and of course they were completely shamefaced. Any thief call out in the act, who has any conscience left, would be shamefaced. But stealing from St Spiridon not a good idea, not a good idea. But he had a smile, the text says, on his face and he came and he freed them and then he gave them one you each, and he said this is for your troubles, for your all night vigil sat spiridon. But not going to preach about St Spirri Don, although I'm highly recommending that you read or listen to his life today. His prayers be with us. I'm also extremely tempted to preach on the epistle lesson, which is from St Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, Chapter Five, one of my most favorite texts, especially the conclusion of the lesson that you just heard, which was don't get drunk with wine, but be filled with the spirit, singing praises to God, making melody in your hearts to the Lord. It's such a magnificent description of the Christian life itself. It's a life of fullness, it's a... of the spirit inside of us, governing how we live, inspiring us to song. Not just this choir singers, but this is throughout the archdiocese. The Sunday for recognizing our choir directors and our chanters and our choir singers, and what an appropriate epistle lesson it is on this Sunday, knowing what's behind every good choir, and that is the fullness of the spirit of God, bringing forth naturally, the praise of God. It's what we do, it's what we believers do. For us the praise of God is just our nature. It's how we live. But I'll pass that by and I'll come instead to the gospel lesson. And allow me to speak with you a bit about the Gospel lesson which is found from St Luke's teaching, Chapter Fourteen, where he tears tells the parable of the great banquet. I'd like to call my homily though, a full house, a full house. You know, I got an email, fascinating email, this week from a young man. He wrote me because he's just been married. He lives on the other side of the country. He's just been married and he wanted to plumb my mind about evangelism and his parish. He's born and raised Orthodox. He's said his parish is an old parish and none of the of the young people now speak the language of the founders of that parish when they came. He said what I want you to know that in our entire history as a parish we have a sum total of one convert in the history of our parish. He goes and you know how I know my wife was that one. Yes, and...

...he said, father, I'm writing to you because I'd like some encouragement. Who Goes? We have. We have all of all the young people in the Paris now are interested in building the church, in winning people to the faith, and I want to ask you for some tips, some ideas. Could we interact a little bit about things we could do for evangelization? I love getting emails like that. Why? Because I see in that young man the work of the spirit of God thirsting for people. I thirst for people, you thirst for people and the reason that we together thirst for people is because our father, Almighty God, thirsts for people. This is the theme of the parable, the great banquet parable. It ends with that beautiful word, I will fill my house, I will fill my house. That's how it ends. It begins with this Marvelous Annunciation of a banquet. Thus, this great landowner who's going to have a banquet. The concept of banquet and God throwing a banquet's right through the scriptures. Moses was invited to suck with God on the top of Mount Sinai and glory. God thirsts to be with men, to deify them, to save them, to bring them near to himself, to share his patrimony of grace with men and women, children, young and old. Everyone God desires it and often he couches it under a banquet. He Inspires this thirst for people. You know that that young man who's now trying to help converts come into his church. I was thinking,...

I was thinking when I was interacting with him, about a saint that we just celebrated who had the same desire, who was also in a little, Dinky Church. His name Saint Gregory the wonder worker. He became the Bishop of nails as area, but when he first went there, he was sent there, and this is late third century. He was sent there and in the entire town there were seventeen parishioners. That's it, and that's what he began to work with. And when he was at the end of his life, when he was about to go to his reward and to see the face of Christ, he gathered his parishers together and he said, brothers and sisters, I came here to this marvelous city, this fantastic metropolis, and there were seventeen believers. It's my joy that today, as I go to my reward, there are only seventeen unbelievers. Can you imagine? He had flipped in his own ministry in one lifetime. He had flipped the constitution of the entire city. He had brought them to the great banquet of God. This text, and look fourteen. It follows a number of banquet scenes, one after the other, after the other after the other, and Jesus has found that each one teaching how to be at a banquet. So, for instance, one of the scenes is someone at a banquet and Jesus tells them, look, when you go to a banquet, take the last seat, take the lowest seat, don't go run and take the high seat because it's it would be so embarrassing if you take the high seat and then the mass of the banquet. The banquet holder looked at you and says, Oh, you know, forgive me, but you're in the wrong place. Go down there, he said. Instead, take the lowest seat, be humble, authentically humble, and then if the master wants to elevate you, then you can...

...just move up closer to where he is. Jesus gave very practical counsel in this scene that you just heard. In the Gospel, Jesus is describing the householder who sends out invitations. He's prepared everything. You know, back then you can't just go down the street and have a door experience. If you're going to have a great banquet, if you're going to have a great banquet, you have to be cooking for a couple days. And if you're in your village and they smell, people are going to smell the meats. You know that sense going through the village and people like, Oh there's a big banquet, people get excited, they get their clothes out. That's what's happened in this man was preparing and then he came to that climactic moment. He had set out an initial notice, not just the smell of the cooking, but also a notice that there was going to be a banquet on this time and it would like you and you and you do you to come. And then when the banquet was done, they would send out the servant and the servant would say now's the time to come. So it was a two step process. You see this in many accounts of banquets in the Gospels. It's a two step process. So everything's done, he sends the servant out to get the people and the people don't come. No one, from top to bottom, is interested in coming to the banquet. The banquet is the picture of God's provision for us, brothers and sisters, this rich, overflowing banquet, this banquet which crops up again and again, this table, rich laden. This is something that the listeners, if they've been instructed by the scriptures, they know exactly what what this person's talking about is. Sayah, the Prophet, in a beautiful prophecy, in the twenty five chapter of his prophecy, said God will throw a lavish banquet and he will serve every choice wine and there he will offer the banquet for all people's and he will put an...

...end to death. Can you imagine? That prophecy too short, verses and it combines the Christian vision of life. God and his wealth of love has provided everything for us, everything for us. He's given US forgiveness, he's poured out his love and his son to us. He's overcome every one of our enemies, sin, death, the devil. He's provided us a family, an eternal family. He's given us courage, he's given us his spirit inside of us, everything that we could possibly want. He's provided for us this is the symbol of the banquet, all because he wants us. It wasn't enough. This just shows you. The refusal of these people who are invited just shows you. You know, a lot of people screw their life up really badly, not because they're like these terrible, wicked people and they all want to be axe murderers. That is not the usual way people screw their lives up. Think about what these people said. The first one got the invitation. He said, you know, I've just bought a piece of land. I need to go examine it. I thought you examined land before you bought it last time I looked. I think we're supposed to catch some humor. They're like, this is a really, really bad excuse. The next person I've just bought some yoke of oxen and I have to go test them out. I thought you would test the yoke of oxen before you bought them to make sure that they worked. And then the third just said I got married. That's classic. Father, my wife, father, my husband. Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone rejected. It shows that really met. Most we ruin ourselves, dear ones. We ruin ourselves not because we...

...have some terrible evil thoughts all of those things are fine. There's nothing wrong with land, there's nothing wrong with work, taking your acts, and there's certainly nothing wrong with marriage. Those are all wonderful thing and lawful things in their right place. But if they're going to stop you from responding to the Gospel, if they're going to stop you from coming to be with God, then they all become evil. They all become evil in the use. I think this is mostly how we lose. It is by an over concern with the things of the earth. I think so good things, good things that have a place, but not the place that we sometimes give them. We get way too concerned about land and land acquisition. I wish we were concerned about the land that's in the Kingdom of God and acquiring that. Jesus talks about real estate here and real estate there. I go away to prepare a place for you. In my father's House are many mansions. If it wasn't so, I would have told you, but I go to be preparing a place for you so that where I am, you also can be. He said that's the real estate we have to secure, is our heavenly mansion, those homes that were fashioning by our love for God and that Christ is working to build for us. Earthly real estate is for a use. It's for a use. It's a place for you to manifest the church and to serve, to serve your family, to serve loved ones. Oxen, nothing wrong with oxen. Noth along with work. Everything is good about work. Work is therapeutic. Work existed before the fall of man. Work is great,...'s necessary, but it can become an obsession and you can be working for the wrong things and for the wrong motives, and then it becomes an enemy of the Gospel and you'll miss the invitation. It will make your heart heart, you won't be able to respond to God. and marriage is the same way. God's the author of marriage. Of course, the most magnificent picture it is to be of the love of God for his people, of the relationship of Church and Christ. Of course people are supposed to see marriages and go God is so good. But marriage is can just be mutual agreements for earthly ambition. That's what they can be. And then there's not serving anyone one. We're just going to completely miss out. Look at God's response. No one was interested in what he had done, what he was offering. And then it says that he was angry and he sent his servants and he said, you know what, fully on them, fully on them. I want you to go and I want you to bring the blind and the lane and the crippled and the beggars, because my house will be full. My House will be full. You know, that prophecy is coming true. It's coming true. One day we will be in the Kingdom of God, by His mercy, and will look around and we'll see an innumerable multitude, a house so full that it can't be numbered because of the grace of God. This is the message to us, brothers and sisters. Cherish the invitation, consider the table Laden to be your greatest gift. You know, when Isaiah prophesied that the time would come and God would have a lavish banquet and he would bring out the greatest wine, which would be for all people, and...

...that there he would kill death. What table was he talking about? More than this one right here that you're invited to today? Is there any wine better? You ever seen a wine that kills death? Besides this, the medicine of immortality itself. Come, come, you're invited and drink deeply, be be grateful, and don't make excuses. Well then, we hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. If you are interested in other available titles or if you would like more information on patristic nectar publications, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org. Again, that's www dot patristic nectar dot org.

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