The Arena
The Arena

Episode 575 · 2 months ago

Cheerful Mercy | St. Matthew 9 Healing of the Paralytic

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

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 a seven part lecture series by Father Josiah Trenham entitled Heaven, our True Home. One of the most shocking realities of the preaching and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ to his early first century Judean audience was his fervent, expansive and repetitive teaching on Heaven. Heaven literally permeates the sermon on the mount and our Savior's parabolic instruction. The Holy Apostles received this single eyed focus upon the next life from the Lord Christ and passed this teaching on to their disciples in the early church. Sacred tradition has vivified and animated the discipleship of Christians in their race toward heaven ever since. In these lectures, Father Josiah opens the scriptures and the writings of the church fathers on the subject of Heaven in an effort to plant a deep impression of the future life for God's children and to stir up a great desire for obtaining it. For these and other available titles, please visit our website at patristic nectar dot org and now the arena with Father Josiah Trena, the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. A blessed lords they to you, brothers and sisters. I've entitled my homily this morning cheerful mercy. Cheerful mercy. It's a pleasure on this Sunday to have serving with us at the Holy Table Deacon Philip mcclanahan and to have his family here, his Shamassi Christianna and his beautiful children Irene and Simon and Miriam. They're here on their way to a long term missionary assignment...

...in Indonesia. There are missionaries with the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, O C M C. They've raised their funds and the church is sending them, with its blessing and encouragement to a distant land. They're going to Southeast Asia, just on the border of Oceana, to a country that is the largest Muslim country in the world. About of the Muslims that are Sunni, in about eight or so of the entire population are Muslims. Indonesia is a collection of some seventeen thousand islands and they're going to be stationed on Sumatra. The most I really know about Sumatra is that they make very good coffee. M What a blessing, what a blessing. And why, dear ones, why do we do these things? Why would a beautiful deacon and his young and beautiful family do such a thing? Why would they remove themselves from their own country, remove themselves from all the familiarity that makes living for a long time in one place comfortable and pleasant? Why would they put all of that aside and fly over the oceans, completely cross the Pacific and end up just there between the Indian and the Pacific Oceans? Why? Well, for one reason. Their believers. They're Christians and they have within them the spirit of God,...

...the spirit who sheds love abroad in our hearts, the spirit who yearns for men, the spirit who inspires the church to fulfill her Apostolic Ministry and to be sent and to continue the work of Christ in enlightening the world and bringing people to know the one who can wash away all of their sins, the one who can establish them in wholeness, the one who can be a mediator between God and themselves, Christ, our savior. This is why they're doing it. They're doing what we always do. They're continuing to help us write the book of acts, because the book of acts ended with Paul in prison and it has continued to be written by the church in every place and in every generation. What they're doing is what we're doing. We're doing it domestically. They're doing it in a way that takes even more courage to go some place that they don't know and learn to speak a language that they don't speak out of love for people. If you listen very carefully to the Epistle, into the Gospel, then you see exactly why they're doing what they're doing. What a marvelous text Romans twelve is. Romans twelve begins with an affirmation of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and Paul writes to the Romans and he says, since you each have received the gift of grace from the spirit of God, let us see that we use our gifts. That's his first word. Romans twelve six, since you have received grace in the gifts that have been given to you, let us use them. He said. This is the...

...first thing that we have to hear. Dear ones, use what you've been given. I emphasized that in my homily last week, but I hope you haven't forgotten my homily for last week, that you're you're thinking about this. We've all been given this magnificent gift, and Paul begins to narrate and explain the different types of gift, that gifts that have been given. Particularly, I want to point out he says this. Let the one who shows mercy do so with cheerfulness, that the one who shows mercy who have the particular gift of a compassionate heart, a kind of heart that would drive someone to do something crazy, like travel across the world, like be exceedingly uncomfortable so that someone else could be saved. If you're going to do such a thing, if you're going to extend your hand in mercy, Paul says, do it with cheerfulness. This is how we live, this is the spirit that it's nursed in us by the presence of God. Doing the word is fascinating word. Paul writes this. Oh Leon, it's a participle. He who sows mercy, he who's doing mercy, and ELA Rotti, e lat in cheerfulness, Ela rotos, cheerful, cheerfulness, where we get the word hilarious? Yeah, that cheerful, that cheerful when we show mercy. How can someone do that? How can someone have such cheerful mercy? It's really not complicated, it's not difficult. It's what you've received. What Paul is asking is that you give the kind of mercy that you have received, that you...

...simply extend the hand that has been extended to you. This is how we live. This is why we love, because we're loved. It's why we forgive, because we've been forgiven. It's why we show mercy, because we have been shown mercy. It's also why it's so unnatural for us not to love, not to show mercy and not to be cheerful. The Gospel lesson sets forth a beautiful picture for the mercy of God in action. In the Gospel that you just heard from Matthew Nine, Jesus healed the paralytic. You know this text because we always read it from Mark's version in the second week of great land, the second Sunday of great land, and sometimes we get to hear it throughout the year, like we're doing today. A man is brought to Jesus who is a paralyzed man and Jesus heals him and the people are scandalized, especially the religious leaders, because Jesus looked at the man and bestowed upon him way more than he was asking for, which is what mercy does. The man came to get some physical healing. The first thing that Jesus did for him was to forgive all of his sins. What a radical thing to do, my son, he said, take heart. He knew he was down. He knew the man was down. Most people looking at him probably thought he was down because he was paralyzed. That's not the main reason he was down. Jesus looked at him and said, my son, take heart, your sins are forgiven. And then they said he's blaspheming, he's only saying that because he can't actually heal him. It's easy to say it. and Jesus said to them that you may know that the son of...

...man has authority on Earth to forgive sins. I say to you, take up your metic and the man was healed at once and went out. This is the Lord we serve, this is the One Who bestows mercy, this is the one who so freely forgives sins that it scandalizes the religious do you notice there in this text how Jesus uses his authority this is an incredible revelation from the Gospel text. When you hear the Word Authority, what do you normally think of? Right? Do you think of people who want it so that they can tell other people what to do. This is how authority is in fallen men. Many just love it. Let's just gather it up, give me more so that I can be in charge and I can tell you, you and you, what to do and nobody can tell me. This is why how fallen men want authority and Love Authority. Look at how Jesus uses his authority. Jesus's authority is expressed not by telling someone to do something, you have to do this, but by casting forgiveness far and wide. He shows his authority by his immense compassion, by his unreasonable to humans graciousness, his extreme, we could say hilarious, generosity and forgiveness. This is how Jesus shows his authority. Nobody can say anything to him. Why? Nobody can criticize him for exercising his generosity wrongly. His authority to forgive because it's his and he was the one sinned against. If anyone should be offended, if anyone wanted to account for sin, it would be him. He...

...has no interest in accounting for this man sins. His interest is in forgiving this man sins. This is the kind of spirit, this is the kind of cheerful mercy that inspires us. It's what we've received. It's how our savior is. You know, this week we celebrated, just two days ago, we celebrated the life of St Mary Magdalen. I was going to uh, I prepared to this week to talk to it just a minute about how she manifests the spirit, but I almost got derailed this morning because as I was reviewing my special names and dates folder this morning, I always checked the dates so I know who to pray for on Sunday, it was apparent to me that I don't think there is one sat in the church that has more people dedicated to her than St Christina. Today, oh my gosh, I sent out so many emails this morning, one after the other, after the other after the other. I think it was or fourteen. There are thirteen or fourteen Christina's in his church. I immediately felt guilty that I passed over Christina as my example to use and choosing St Mary Magdalen. I'm asking forgiveness from the Christina's Today. But St Mary Magdalen demonstrated this cheerful mercy. You know her extreme love for Christ, which is manifested by her absolute devotion to him. She was in that pack of women that followed him everywhere, that spent all of their funds to support his ministry. She showed her love by never leaving his side. Even at the Cross, she stayed with the mother of God. She was the one who harassed Joseph of Arimathea, our tradition...

...says, to get him to go get the body of Jesus and to put him in his new tomb. She knew about it and she came to him and said, Hey, you've got to bury Jesus in that tomb. She was the one waiting at the tomb. She was the one who saw the risen Christ first and thought that he was the gardener. What why such outrageous devotion? Well, and Luke tells us when he first mentions her name, that Jesus, when he called her, who cast out seven demons from inside of her. You think the paralyzed man had a hard life, try living with one demon. Many of you know how hard that is. One this woman had seven and when she met Christ. The Lord cast his outrageous mercy upon her and completely freed her, drove it out. And what could she do but love him outrageously and bestow cheerfulness and cheerful mercy on everybody, just like she had received cheerful mercy. After our Lord ascended to heaven, she spent the rest of her life preaching the Gospel. We call her an equal of the apostles. She even went before the Emperor Tiberius and preached the Gospel without any fear at all. This is the whole story of her beautiful egg that turned red. She was demanding that the one she loved, that his name, be rectified by the emperor. She said, your governor was unjust...

...and condemning Christ. Tell everyone it was an unjust action, tell everyone that he was innocent. Sat Mary Magdalen, cheerful mercy, dear ones, this is our life. I I'm a little choked up today because it's been a it's been an amazing week meditating upon this subject and also upon one who, in my own life, showed this life this outrageous kindness that overlooks all of our serious ugliness but covers it over with the mercy of God, the one I'm thinking of. He's a wonderful priest who, on the Feast of Prophet Elias This last week, when we celebrated the Prophet alias, he died. His name is Father Wayne Peterson. He was eight three, an archimmandery of the church. I've known father dwayne since before I became Orthodox, just before. He was a radical person, and cheerful mercy is the definition of what. If I had to define him in two words, cheerful mercy would be it. He was part of the Jesus Movement, full blown Jesus Freak, full blown Hippie for Jesus. He started a street ministry in Hollywood in the seventies and he was part of that large part of the Jesus Movement that found its way into holy orthodoxy. Thousands of them did, all across the country and he was at the core of that movement. Once he became Orthodox, Metropolitan Philip ordained him a priest and he started the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry and...

...he spent his entire ministry visiting the most wretched of the wretched, condemned prisoners, especially those who are in supermax facilities, who he called his flock his son's. He would go visit his son's in this prison and in that prison. I worked with him a bit because he was a very talented catechist and you know, I have a particular interest in catechism. I mean not that all priests aren't interested in catechism, but I have a particular interest in that just through circumstances, you and what God has asked us to do. And he was constantly working on different Cate critical pieces, producing cate critical literature for the prisons. That was material that could easily be used in the churches too, and I benefited greatly from his work. He received many, many prisoners into the church and established little Orthodox Christian cells in different prisons. This is how he lived. This is how he lived. He touched us all, from our metropolitan down to people like us. He had a massive smile on his face everywhere and he always was convinced that there was nothing that any person has ever done or could do that could triumph over the mercy of God. Nothing. May God rest his soul and may God stir us, brothers and sisters, to have a spirit of cheerful mercy and since we have been given...

...the gifts of the spirit. Let us use them element. We hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to you by patristic nectar publications, a non profit 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 W W W dot patristic nectar dot org.

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