The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 11 months ago

Chosen People Syndrome - Canaanite Woman 2021

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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present a new five lecture series entitled ContemporaryWomen Saints. Saint John of Sinai, in his ladder of divine assent,writes that the lives of the saints arouse us to emulation of their courage andlead us to the virtue of humility and compunction. Contemporary Saints are particularly importantsince they acquire their love for God and holiness in the midst of our currentmilieu and demonstrate that spiritual acquisition is possible even in our own troubled times.The five lectures are as follows. Lecture number one the life of Saint Zaniaof Saint Petersburg. Lecture number two the life of Saint Elizabeth, the newmartyr. Lecture number three the life of Saint Maria of Paris. Lecture numberfour the life of Saint Metrona of Moscow. Lecture number five the lives of motherMaria of Olonettes, Schema Num Macaria, the beloved cepher, and Matushka Olgaof Alaska. For these and other available titles, please visit our websiteat atristic nectar dot org and now the arena with Father Josiah Trenna, thename of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. Ihave for the last several weeks trying to be encouraging to all of our parishionerswho are outside for so long. I have some hope, and I hadsome hope stoked this week, that these days will be coming to an end. Thank God. The coronavirus numbers have a just tanked. The infection rateis way down, hospitalization is way down. These are great stats for our earsto hear. Some of our most vulnerable are elderly, are getting vaccinated, putting their fears in a more proper place. This week we, allthe priests out here on the West Coast, had a zoom seminar with His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph. Instead of our usual week together at the monastery andAl Hambra where we usually receive instruction, we had a one day zoom andHis Eminence shared with us that he's also noticing the improvements and is very,very anxious to issue new guidelines to us so that we don't have a peteof the horrible lent that we had last...

...year. Thank God, thank God. So a few words of encouragement to the persevering. I've entitled my homilythis Morning Chosen People Syndrome, chosen people syndrome, and I'm going to preachon the Gospel that you just heard this marvelous text from Saint Matthew about theCanaanite woman, this woman who put to shame the apostles and all the Jewishfollowers of Jesus. She, together with the Centurion, the Pagan Centurion,were the ones who made our savior marvel the most about their faith. Ofthe Centurion, Jesus said he has not found such faith anywhere in Israel.And of the Canaanite woman he said something that he said of no one else. Great is your faith, woman, great is your faith, and gaveher exactly what she wanted. We don't know her name, but for aboutninety nine point five percent of us in the Church today, that is,all those who don't come from Jewish ancestry, she is our mother. This womanis the mother of the gentiles, and I want you to put yourselfinto the shoes of the apostles. Imagine yourself living in the Holy Land atthat, at this time when Jesus is preaching, Jesus is scandalizing the Pharisees. In fact, the account of the Canaanite woman follows Jesus basically taking anew TAC with the Pharisees. No more avoiding conflict with them, no moretrying to stay away from them. In the verses of Chapter Fifteen, justbefore the Canaanite woman, Jesus takes them on just directly and tells his apostles, look, every plant that my father didn't plant will be uprooted and castout. These PHARISAIC leaders, these master Jewish teachers, are so wrong thatthey aren't even from my father and they have no future. This is whatJesus is saying, and he specifically was responding to their accusations that he wasviolating quote the traditions of the elders. This is the rabbinic lore that wasguiding the Pharisees at the time, especially about keeping his hands clean, andwaship washing dish is and plates in a certain way and washing your hands ina certain way before you eat. Jesus...

...wasn't doing it. In fact,Jesus declared all of the Jewish food laws done, superseded over. They hadfulfilled their task, and now Jesus is telling them don't be bothered by this. All foods are clean, no need to keep the Jewish mosaic regulations withregards to food, and that is a sign that we are turning our attentionoutside of the Holy Land. The eradication of the food laws is a sign, in the gospels, of Jesus taking his apostles by his own example andthen by his command, and focusing on the Pagans. It's exactly what happenedin the life of St Peter, who would be Jesus is instrument with theother apostles to get this done. What happened to Peter before he finally hadthe courage to take the Gospel to Cornelius, the Pagan? He was on topof the roof and he saw a vision in which he saw a sheetdescend from heaven with all sorts of unclean animals, foods that were forbidden Jewsto eat, and he heard God's Voice Rise Peter, kill, eat.Peter was shocked, absolutely shocked at this command from God. What do youmean, I thought, Lord, nothing has ever entered my mouth. That'sunclean. And what did God say? Stop calling unclean. What God hascleansed. The Gospel is for the nation's, it's for the world's, for everyone. And so Jesus today does the scandalous. He moves into the Paganterritory. He moves into tire and Sidon some land where some of our ownpeople's ancestors are from Pagan Land, Filicthia. Very, very upsetting to the Jewishleaders. What Jesus is doing today very upsetting but exceedingly beautiful. Andwhat does he find? Faith, this is what he finds. Now Iwant you, in our exercise now, to get into the shoes of thepeople of God with regard to what they were thinking about the Pagans, whatthey were thinking about the gentile the nations, so that we can avoid chosen peoplesyndrome. I want you to go back in time. I want youto think with me about when God first called Abraham, the patriarch, ourfather in faith, to thousand BC. God called Abraham, the Pagan,to come out and become the father of his faithful God formed his people bycalling Abraham out of paganism, out of idolatry, out of darkness, andAbraham responded. The man of faith responded.

He proved his faith when God askedhim to sacrifice his only son, his beloved Isaac, and he wasthere and he took him to the top of the mountain and it was whenhe lifted up the knife to slay his own son that God stopped him andsaid now I know that you fear me and that you trust me. Godprovided a sacrifice in place of him and he told him this. He said, Abraham, I will greatly multiply your seed plural, and then he saidthis, and in your seed singular, all the nations of the world willbe blessed. This is what he told Abraham. The very start of thepeople of God, the very start of the Hebrew nation, had its foundationin an outward vision of taking their faith and blessing the nations with it.Paul appeals to this in his own writings to jeffify his own ministry to thegentiles. All he's doing is bringing the promise to Abraham to fulfillment, evenif it did SC vandalize the Jews because they weren't supposed to associate with thePagans, with the filthy gentiles move about a thousand years ahead the people ofGod. Abraham, Isaac, his son, Jacob, his grandson Joseph, hisgreat step grandson, have multiplied exceedingly. They've even taken their faith and theirway of life into Pagan Egypt and been exalted there. Now David theking has come and God has established David and he's joined all of his peopletogether under David's rule. But David didn't just rule over the Hebrews, hedidn't just rule over the Jews. He conquered pagan lands like Philicthia and Moaband Zoba. These were places where they were unbelievers. He was extending theKingdom of God on Earth to Pagan lands. He was bringing the Law of Godand the knowledge of God into those lands. And under his son Solomon, wow did it really get going at the time of David. David wroteBeautiful Psalms all about the conversion of the nations, like Psalm to where Godsays to his son, asked of me, and I will give to you thenations as your inheritance and the very ends of the Earth as your possession, or like Psalm seventy two. This is what the people of God werepraying in some seventy two, this beautiful psalm about the Messiah Becoming Christ.David writes that at that time, when...

...he comes, the knowledge of Godwill fill the earth like the waters covered the sea. This is the visionthat's going on at the time of King David and at Solomon's time. Itstarted to happen when Solomon built the Temple of God, brothers and sisters,and he knelt down and he lifted up his hands, as recorded in firstking's eight. It's a beautiful text, the consecration of the Temple of Godin Jerusalem. The glory of God came down and it filled the the templeso thick that the priests couldn't get in through the incense. And he kneltdown. It's recorded in verses forty one to forty three incredible words in hisprayer, after he's been praying that the glory of God would stay on thistemple, that this would be the protection of his people, that when wordswould be spoken, that God's ears would always be open to those prayers,that his eyes would always be fixed on everyone who was there. He thengoes on and says this and when the foreigner in other nations here's of yourgreat glory, for they will certainly hear of Your glory and be drawn byyour law and come to this holy place, when they pray here. Oh Lord, grant their requests, even in the most central moment, when theHouse of God is being consecrated in Israel, the very heart of Israel's life.They had a vision of the conversion of the nations, of bringing theknowledge of God, the God of Abraham, to the whole world. And ithappened. Who is the Queen of Sheba but a woman who heard aboutthe greatness of Solomon and his God and came and she spent long periods,months, they're, examining everything, hearing the word of God, seeing theLaw of God and practice, looking at the worship, watching the administration ofthe Kingdom. And what did she say at the end? The half ofit wasn't told me, your glory far exceeds everything I had heard, andshe went back to take to her people the knowledge of God. It washappening, his prayer was coming true. And then ruination. Solomon's pathetic son, Reheboum, was a man who loved power more than people. He hadno inter Christ in enlightening the nations, though. He just wanted power,and the nation split into pieces. Never to really recover its glory, andthis vision for the redemption of the gentiles...

...began to fizzle. And the onlyones who kept it alive where the prophets, prophets like Amos, who said thatthe time when calm, when God would rebuild his fallen tent and allthe nations would stream into it, or Isaiah, the prophet around six hundredor so, who said that in the last days, the House of Godwill become the greatest of the houses on the top of the mountains and hislaw will go forth into the whole world, and men from the nations will streaminto the House of God saying, tell us, who is your God, grabbing on even to the clothing of people who knew God, and saying, take us with you, so that we too can worship the Lord God. This is what the prophets kept alive, and finally it came to pass.Our Lord came. He came to save us, to redeem us,to conquer all of our enemies at once. He had accomplished his task. Thesmall event that he had today revealed to his disciples in this incredible,nameless woman who had such great faith, greater faith than anyone who was alreadya part of the people of God. She would become normative, the conversionof the nations, of the gentiles, of the Pagans, would become normative. Jesus left the Holy Land so that he could meet this woman and helpher leave her idolatry, and that's what happened. And his great mercy,he left his so that she could leave hers and become a woman of faithand obtain deliverance from the tortures of the cruel demon. She's a picture,brothers and sisters. The father say that she and her daughter are picture ofthe gentiles in great need at this time. The Lord, in a very shortspan of time after this, would go back and be crucified, plunderhell, rise again from the dead, assent into heaven and send forth thisHoly Spirit, and then it was off to the races to fulfill his commissionto bring the Gospel to all the nations. This is the role of the gentilesand this is us. Never Forget, brothers and sisters, never forget yourorigins. You know, it's about the been about the same length oftime since this happened as the time from Abraham before it, about two thousandyears. We have become the people of God, we whose ancestors universally,were lost. We can love our and...

Pre Christian ways. We can loveto study them and know them. I'm very fascinated in my ethnic roots,very fascinated, but know this. The condition of the gentiles, apart fromGod, according to Saint Paul in Ephesians Chapter Two and Eficians chapter for,was this. They were separated from God's covenant, Strangers to his promises,without God and hopeless in the world. Our hearts were darkened, our mindswere confused, we worshiped crazy things, we lived in sinful ways. Thiswas our our way before God found us in his great mercy. He camefor us and he showed compassion on us, beginning with our mother, today,our nameless mother. In this Gospel text, we are recipients of thegrace of God. Never let chosen people syndrome keep you from for getting ourpurpose and our origin, our origines in the grace of God and his lovingembrace of us while we were a mess, and our calling is to bring theknowledge of God and his love to every single human being. You knowwe are in a period of radical de Christianization. You know that our countryis de Christianizing very quickly into a condition even worse than ancient paganism, acondition in which those descriptions of being without God and hopeless in the world,confused, darkened in mind, corrupted in heart, these are applying to ournation more and more and more in an even more grievous way. Better tohave the pagan gods and some sense of the transcendent than nothing at all,like we have now. How are we relating to them? Do we havechosen people syndrome? And what we really care about is our separation. Youheard those words from St Paul Today in the epistle. Come out from themand be separate. Come out from them and be separate. Do you thinkhe means be separate from people that were called to to win? No,he means be separated from sin. Not Be separated from people. Not tobe comfortable, because we are the Chosen Orthodox God has shown himself to us. We are his people. Glory to...

God, may his name be praised. We are, we are, he's taken us to his bosom, heloves US and HE'S HOLDING US tide. But, brothers and sisters, weexist for them too. This is our calling. If we get comfortable,like the Jews did in our faith and show no concern and even make upall sorts of excuses like they did, not to be involved and interested inpeople's lives who are are outside of the church, were no better than them, none at all. We can have that terrible disease, that syndrome wedon't want. Instead, let's always remember our roots, let's always remember howwe got in, how the Lord found us by sending his example before us, by sending our forefathers to find us, by enlightening us. We are recipientsof grace and we carry it for the nations, until the knowledge ofGod covers everything, until all the nations are in the House of God andit's lifted up and restored. God deserves that, men need that and thisis our calling. What a day to day is. We thank the Lord, we praise him for his mercies, Father, son and Holy Spirit.On them, we hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by thispresentation offered to you by patristic nectar publications, a non profit organization committed to nourishingthe spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers if you areinterested in other available titles or if you would like more information on patristic nectarpublications, please visit our website at w w w dot patristic nectar dot org. Again, that's W W W dot patristic nectar dot org.

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