The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 1 year ago

Chosen People Syndrome - Canaanite Woman 2021


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Contemporary Women Saints

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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present a new five lecture series entitled Contemporary Women 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 and lead us to the virtue of humility and compunction. Contemporary Saints are particularly important since they acquire their love for God and holiness in the midst of our current milieu 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 Zania of Saint Petersburg. Lecture number two the life of Saint Elizabeth, the new martyr. Lecture number three the life of Saint Maria of Paris. Lecture number four the life of Saint Metrona of Moscow. Lecture number five the lives of mother Maria of Olonettes, Schema Num Macaria, the beloved cepher, and Matushka Olga of Alaska. For these and other available titles, please visit our website at atristic nectar dot org and now the arena with Father Josiah Trenna, the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. I have for the last several weeks trying to be encouraging to all of our parishioners who are outside for so long. I have some hope, and I had some hope stoked this week, that these days will be coming to an end. Thank God. The coronavirus numbers have a just tanked. The infection rate is way down, hospitalization is way down. These are great stats for our ears to hear. Some of our most vulnerable are elderly, are getting vaccinated, putting their fears in a more proper place. This week we, all the 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 and Al Hambra where we usually receive instruction, we had a one day zoom and His 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 pete of 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 homily this Morning Chosen People Syndrome, chosen people syndrome, and I'm going to preach on the Gospel that you just heard this marvelous text from Saint Matthew about the Canaanite woman, this woman who put to shame the apostles and all the Jewish followers of Jesus. She, together with the Centurion, the Pagan Centurion, were the ones who made our savior marvel the most about their faith. Of the 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 gave her exactly what she wanted. We don't know her name, but for about ninety 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 woman is the mother of the gentiles, and I want you to put yourself into the shoes of the apostles. Imagine yourself living in the Holy Land at that, at this time when Jesus is preaching, Jesus is scandalizing the Pharisees. In fact, the account of the Canaanite woman follows Jesus basically taking a new TAC with the Pharisees. No more avoiding conflict with them, no more trying to stay away from them. In the verses of Chapter Fifteen, just before 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 cast out. These PHARISAIC leaders, these master Jewish teachers, are so wrong that they aren't even from my father and they have no future. This is what Jesus is saying, and he specifically was responding to their accusations that he was violating quote the traditions of the elders. This is the rabbinic lore that was guiding the Pharisees at the time, especially about keeping his hands clean, and waship washing dish is and plates in a certain way and washing your hands in a certain way before you eat. Jesus...

...wasn't doing it. In fact, Jesus declared all of the Jewish food laws done, superseded over. They had fulfilled 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 with regards to food, and that is a sign that we are turning our attention outside 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 and then by his command, and focusing on the Pagans. It's exactly what happened in the life of St Peter, who would be Jesus is instrument with the other apostles to get this done. What happened to Peter before he finally had the courage to take the Gospel to Cornelius, the Pagan? He was on top of the roof and he saw a vision in which he saw a sheet descend from heaven with all sorts of unclean animals, foods that were forbidden Jews to eat, and he heard God's Voice Rise Peter, kill, eat. Peter was shocked, absolutely shocked at this command from God. What do you mean, I thought, Lord, nothing has ever entered my mouth. That's unclean. And what did God say? Stop calling unclean. What God has cleansed. 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 Pagan territory. He moves into tire and Sidon some land where some of our own people's ancestors are from Pagan Land, Filicthia. Very, very upsetting to the Jewish leaders. What Jesus is doing today very upsetting but exceedingly beautiful. And what does he find? Faith, this is what he finds. Now I want you, in our exercise now, to get into the shoes of the people of God with regard to what they were thinking about the Pagans, what they were thinking about the gentile the nations, so that we can avoid chosen people syndrome. I want you to go back in time. I want you to think with me about when God first called Abraham, the patriarch, our father in faith, to thousand BC. God called Abraham, the Pagan, to come out and become the father of his faithful God formed his people by calling Abraham out of paganism, out of idolatry, out of darkness, and Abraham responded. The man of faith responded.

He proved his faith when God asked him to sacrifice his only son, his beloved Isaac, and he was there and he took him to the top of the mountain and it was when he lifted up the knife to slay his own son that God stopped him and said now I know that you fear me and that you trust me. God provided a sacrifice in place of him and he told him this. He said, Abraham, I will greatly multiply your seed plural, and then he said this, and in your seed singular, all the nations of the world will be blessed. This is what he told Abraham. The very start of the people of God, the very start of the Hebrew nation, had its foundation in 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 the gentiles. All he's doing is bringing the promise to Abraham to fulfillment, even if it did SC vandalize the Jews because they weren't supposed to associate with the Pagans, with the filthy gentiles move about a thousand years ahead the people of God. Abraham, Isaac, his son, Jacob, his grandson Joseph, his great step grandson, have multiplied exceedingly. They've even taken their faith and their way of life into Pagan Egypt and been exalted there. Now David the king has come and God has established David and he's joined all of his people together under David's rule. But David didn't just rule over the Hebrews, he didn't just rule over the Jews. He conquered pagan lands like Philicthia and Moab and Zoba. These were places where they were unbelievers. He was extending the Kingdom of God on Earth to Pagan lands. He was bringing the Law of God and the knowledge of God into those lands. And under his son Solomon, wow did it really get going at the time of David. David wrote Beautiful Psalms all about the conversion of the nations, like Psalm to where God says to his son, asked of me, and I will give to you the nations 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 were praying in some seventy two, this beautiful psalm about the Messiah Becoming Christ. David writes that at that time, when...

...he comes, the knowledge of God will fill the earth like the waters covered the sea. This is the vision that's going on at the time of King David and at Solomon's time. It started 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 first king's eight. It's a beautiful text, the consecration of the Temple of God in Jerusalem. The glory of God came down and it filled the the temple so thick that the priests couldn't get in through the incense. And he knelt down. It's recorded in verses forty one to forty three incredible words in his prayer, after he's been praying that the glory of God would stay on this temple, that this would be the protection of his people, that when words would 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 then goes on and says this and when the foreigner in other nations here's of your great glory, for they will certainly hear of Your glory and be drawn by your law and come to this holy place, when they pray here. Oh Lord, grant their requests, even in the most central moment, when the House 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 the knowledge of God, the God of Abraham, to the whole world. And it happened. Who is the Queen of Sheba but a woman who heard about the greatness of Solomon and his God and came and she spent long periods, months, they're, examining everything, hearing the word of God, seeing the Law of God and practice, looking at the worship, watching the administration of the Kingdom. And what did she say at the end? The half of it wasn't told me, your glory far exceeds everything I had heard, and she went back to take to her people the knowledge of God. It was happening, his prayer was coming true. And then ruination. Solomon's pathetic son, Reheboum, was a man who loved power more than people. He had no inter Christ in enlightening the nations, though. He just wanted power, and the nation split into pieces. Never to really recover its glory, and this vision for the redemption of the gentiles...

...began to fizzle. And the only ones who kept it alive where the prophets, prophets like Amos, who said that the time when calm, when God would rebuild his fallen tent and all the nations would stream into it, or Isaiah, the prophet around six hundred or so, who said that in the last days, the House of God will become the greatest of the houses on the top of the mountains and his law will go forth into the whole world, and men from the nations will stream into 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. The small 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 already a part of the people of God. She would become normative, the conversion of the nations, of the gentiles, of the Pagans, would become normative. Jesus left the Holy Land so that he could meet this woman and help her 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 faith and 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 of the gentiles in great need at this time. The Lord, in a very short span of time after this, would go back and be crucified, plunder hell, rise again from the dead, assent into heaven and send forth this Holy Spirit, and then it was off to the races to fulfill his commission to bring the Gospel to all the nations. This is the role of the gentiles and this is us. Never Forget, brothers and sisters, never forget your origins. You know, it's about the been about the same length of time since this happened as the time from Abraham before it, about two thousand years. We have become the people of God, we whose ancestors universally, were lost. We can love our and...

Pre Christian ways. We can love to study them and know them. I'm very fascinated in my ethnic roots, very fascinated, but know this. The condition of the gentiles, apart from God, 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 minds were confused, we worshiped crazy things, we lived in sinful ways. This was our our way before God found us in his great mercy. He came for us and he showed compassion on us, beginning with our mother, today, our nameless mother. In this Gospel text, we are recipients of the grace of God. Never let chosen people syndrome keep you from for getting our purpose and our origin, our origines in the grace of God and his loving embrace of us while we were a mess, and our calling is to bring the knowledge of God and his love to every single human being. You know we are in a period of radical de Christianization. You know that our country is de Christianizing very quickly into a condition even worse than ancient paganism, a condition in which those descriptions of being without God and hopeless in the world, confused, darkened in mind, corrupted in heart, these are applying to our nation more and more and more in an even more grievous way. Better to have 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 have chosen people syndrome? And what we really care about is our separation. You heard those words from St Paul Today in the epistle. Come out from them and be separate. Come out from them and be separate. Do you think he means be separate from people that were called to to win? No, he means be separated from sin. Not Be separated from people. Not to be 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, he loves US and HE'S HOLDING US tide. But, brothers and sisters, we exist 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 up all sorts of excuses like they did, not to be involved and interested in people'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 we don't want. Instead, let's always remember our roots, let's always remember how we 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 recipients of grace and we carry it for the nations, until the knowledge of God covers everything, until all the nations are in the House of God and it's lifted up and restored. God deserves that, men need that and this is 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 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 w w w dot patristic nectar dot org. Again, that's W W W dot patristic nectar dot org.

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