The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 9 months ago

A Woman of Greatness


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 present theological foundations God, man and the world in Genesis one through three a ten lecture series. The opening chapters of the Holy Bible provide the fundamental elements of the Christian World View. There we learn about the one true God, the human being fashioned in God's image and God's meaning infused creation. These texts, which have always formed a central element in the Church's catechetical ministry, present the most important of Christian convictions. These chapters are particularly relevant today, as secularism has suppressed these essential truths from the Western mind and priests can no longer assume that these basic theological affirmations are believed by those coming to the church or raised in the church. These lectures are presented as an aid in the formation of catechumens and as an effort to set forth the transcendent beauty of the glory of God, of the human being and of God's magnificent world. For these and other available titles, 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. A blessed Lord's Day to all of you, brothers and sisters. I've entitled my homily this morning a woman of greatness, but before I speak with you about her, I want to share some some thoughts. I've been reading this week a summary Treatise that was published by the Ministry of war from the UK in collaboration with the Ministry of war,...

...or defense as they call it in Germany. So fascinating document that is summarizing a mutual cooperative plan that they have that they're calling human augmentation, human augmentation. What a great subject, human augmentation. It's what the church is all about, is human augmentation. We might call it human transformation, human deification. The title is about the only thing I liked in the whole document, because the concepts of human augmentation that these civilized ministries of defense have have everything could do only with the externals, a very shallow perspective on human psychology, human physicality and human social life. Those are the three tenants under which they have been developing their concepts for human augmentation. Mostly it's about how to unify artificial intelligence with human beings in order to be able to kill people better. You can do it faster and not have to waste so much artillery and it can be all the weapons can be interfaced with each unique human being. You know, it's a sad reality that technology has been driven from the beginning by war, by human desire to kill other human beings. This is what has driven the development of technology. So Sad, so sad, all in a quest for some sense of progress or greatness. Today the Gospel is all...

...about greatness and we have laid before us and augmented human a developed, incredible woman. It's a very short gospel text, seven verses, but in those seven verses, their ones, Jesus lays before us just breathtaking beauty. The context in Matthew fifteen is Jesus has been disputing with the Pharisees. The Pharisees have been criticizing his ministry because he's been not dotting his eyes and not crossing his teas according to the rabbinic customs of the day. He hasn't been, for instance, teaching his disciples to wash their hands in a certain way according to the custom of the elders, and they thought that that was very disrespectful of him. And so the Pharisees were asking his disciples, why does your teacher not follow the custom of the elders? Jesus had had enough of these men. Absolutely he had had enough and he flipped the question and he said, and why do you, for the sake of your tradition, nullify God's word? And then, knowing, with his penetrating on this and mind, the sins that the Pharisees were pursuing, he exposed them. He pulled back the veil of their external righteousness, something that we should always be aware of, any emphasis upon the external. He pulled back the veil of their phony, Sham Holiness and explain to them that the word of God says Honor Your father and mother, and anyone who curses his father or mother, let him... put to death. See, Lord, aren't you taking honoring your parents a little too seriously there? The word of God says that, but for the sake of your tradition, they steal from their own parents, instead of giving their parents financial aid when their parents needed most. The Pharisees that created a whole system to hide their funds. They had declared that these funds belong to God. They were court band and therefore couldn't be diverted to help the needs of their parents. And so, for the sake of their made up corbond dedication tradition, they null a fight the fifth commandment. And then he quoted the Prophet Isaiah and he said this people, they honor me with their lips, but their hearts far away from me, in vain. Do they worship me, teaching as dogma the Traditions of men? That's the background. The background is externalized religion, no faith, lots of pride. And then the repe the disciples reported to Jesus. Lord, you've offended them and Jesus, he didn't go goodness me, I didn't mean to offend anyone. No, it's not what he did. Instead, he said they are blind guides of the blind and if a man blind man follows a blind man, they're both going to end up into a pit. Ignore them, that's what he told them. Just ignore these people. This is the background. Faithless, bogus religion with no humility, no heart compunction. And then Peter comes to Jesus. He says he's confused. Lord, explain this to us and Jesus...

...was confused, was shocked that Peter was still ignorant. He said, Peter, how could you be asking me this? How could you be asking me about this? And then Jesus leaves and he goes into Pagan territory, into the area of Tire Insidon, and he meets this incredible woman. You have to see that background you're about to have presented before you. The exact opposite of the Pharisees. There lack of love for people is going to be exposed by her in credible maternal love. Their lack of humility is going to be exposed by her incredible her mute humility, and their absolute faithlessness is going to be exposed by this woman's incredible faith. This Gospel story sometimes trips us up because the way that Jesus acted can very easily be misunderstood. Many people hear this story, like you just heard, and they think why with Jesus so harsh to this woman? I really want you to track with me about this so that you get it. Jesus was doing two miracles at the same time. He was working a miracle in her heart. At the same time he was working a miracle and his apostles heart and his disciples heard and he was unbeknownst to them. He had his hands on both. He was bringing them both out into the light. Let me explain to you how. First, I want you to see this woman's incredible maternal love. Her daughter was possessed. She was a pagan. We don't even know her name. She lived amongst the Canaanites, people who were not respected at all by the Jews. Her daughter was in the grip of the devils. And what is more terror...

...refying than to be away from God and vulnerable to the devils? Really, it's hard for us to know. It's hard for us to know. Very few believers who have been raised in the protection of the church know what it's like to be terrorized by the devils. Very few. This poor woman's daughter. Nothing that she did could free her and she, with her truly mother's love, took her daughter's trouble on herself. This is what mothers do. Yesterday I was blessing a house and I was having a wonderful little repast with the family and the husband and wife were talking about their grown children and they were teasing each other because the mom often did many things that the husband considered to be slightly unreasonable in her service for her children. As you know, all husbands, know, at least husbands in this parish for sure in the church. Many times we witness the hearts of our wives drive them to do things that we could even imagine taking place. It's a marvelous, marvelous thing to see. And the husband was poking her and saying, well, of course, you know she does this and this for them. I would never do that in a thousand years. And then she said yes, but it's a maternal thing, so just mind your own business. He's viled so proud to have a wife like that. This was this woman. You know, dear ones, that's a picture maternal love. Is a picture of the love...

...of God, that same love which has inspired all of these beautiful saints on our walls. They took the suffering of those around them, some of them even the suffering of the whole world, as though it was theirs. They took people's troubles and they didn't separate themselves, they bore them. Of course, this is most magnificently seen in Jesus, taking all of our troubles, all of our diseases and putting them on his back, carrying them for us so that we can be healed. This is the love of God, and that's the first thing I want you to see about this woman. She appears with no concern for herself whatsoever, but a willingness to do anything for the healing of her daughter. Here she is. The second thing I want you to see is this woman's incredible humility. She AP proaches Jesus and she calls out to him, Lord, son of David, have mercy on me, my daughter. It's cruely demon possessed. And what did Jesus do? Completely ignored her, just completely ignored her. She kept crying out. She didn't give up though she had been rebuffed. She kept crying out, and his disciples say to him, can't we just send her away? She is bothering us. You have to see that right. Remember, this one was a pagan. What does she have to do with them? This is not yet pentecost, this is not yet pennecoft. And what if Jesus say? He says something to appease them. He said I was only sent for the lost sheep of the House of Israel. Wow, here's this woman bleeding her hearts just crushed, and Jesus firstly ignores her. Then he says, I didn't come for you. Woman what? And then she continues. It's that this...

...time she just says, Lord, help me, and then Jesus says it's not right to take the bread of the children and throw it to the dogs. WHOA. I mean before that was maybe insensitive, right insensitive. It could be understood as being cold. This is just plain rude. This is you're calling the woman a dog. The word is actually little dogs. I guess you can make it look a little bit better, you know, like a yapping dog. Just think of a poodle or something like that. And then the woman says yes, Lord, but even the dogs, even the dog's feet on the crumbs that fall from the master's table. Put yourself in this woman's shoes. How would you have responded to being ignored, to being told that he had nothing to do with you, and then to being insulted in being called a dog? How would you ignored? Remember, correction is all about, what this chapter is about. Jesus had just given a hard word to the Pharisees, and how did they respond? A fence from top to bottom. How dare he criticize the tradition of the elders? How dare he suggest that we worship God only with our lips, but our hearts are far away from God? They were so offended that the offense passed on to the disciples, and the disciples had to bring it to Jesus. That is one model. Just think about that. People who get offended are pharisees. When we get offended, we are Pharisees. How did this woman, who you might think had every reason to get offended, respond? No matter, no matter. You know what, Lord, everything you say is right.

I'm not worthy of you talking to me. I'm not of the House of Israel. No contest there. And you're right, I am a dog, but don't forget that the dogs the still eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table. What was Jesus doing? At one and the same time, he was playing the role of spiritual father for this woman, to bring her to a position so that her faith could be rewarded and she could be manifest as an incredible example. And he was working a miracle and his disciples hearts, teaching them by letting this develop in such a challenging way. How worthy this woman was of being included in their number and their minds. This was no business of theirs. She was a pagan. The Messiah had come for Israel. Remember, this is pre pentecost. What are the disciples care about? Even in act chapter one, before pentecost, before the Holy Spirit had come in made a world thirsty heart, and all of the believers before that, after Jesus was raised from the dead and the disciples were meeting with Jesus, what did they say, Lord, is it at this time that you're going to restore the kingdom to Israel? That's acts chapter one. That was their concerns, even after the resurrection. It wasn't till pentecost that God's thirst for the nation's was planted in the hearts of all believers and the apostle said, hey, this is not just about the house of Israel, this is about the whole world. Before that, the Prophet saw it here and there. Isaiah saw it. He said Look, the Lord sending his servant to be a light to the nation's Ezekiel saw Jeremiah saw it in the spirit, but the people of God didn't see it. They weren't going around trying to win the world to the salvation of the Lord. And here's Jesus with this Pagan Woman, guiding her so that her beauty could be shown, and at the on the other side, here teaching his disciples, calming them by saying Hey, yes, I'm set for the lost ship of of the House of...

Israel. First, sure, but teaching them to have a concern for her, master Pedagogi, masterful Pedigoji. And then look, lastly, you've seen her unbelievable maternal love. You see seen her incredible humility, and then, lastly, her faith. She, unlike the Pharisees and even unlike Peter, who was close but just still didn't see it, she's the teacher of WHO Christ is. She greets him from the beginning, Lord Son of David. She knows he's the Messiah. He she stays completely, one hundred percent, confident that he is the one who can deliver her from the devils. and Jesus is so shocked, he's so taken aback, that he just says it's translated in English. Oh woman, what it means is what a person, what a person. Great is your faith? It will be done exactly as you wish. And her daughter was delivered text. What a text? What if you want to be augmented, if you want to be augmented, augment this way. Let us imitate this great woman by making that kind of maternal love ours, let us imitate this woman by making that kind of confident humility ours, and let's imitate this woman by having the faith in Christ. That is reasonable, that is right. This is greatness. This is our future,...

...dear ones, this is where the Lord's taking us. Something far better than getting talented and augmented to kill people. This is all about, instead becoming Oh men and Oh women, being planted as glorified, beautiful human beings. This is the future which the Lord is creating for us. I wish you a wonderful, Wonderful Liturgy on this feast which we remember this incredible Pagan woman. 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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