The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 9 years ago

Christians Always Share Their Blessings

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The Parable of the Rich Fool. Learn more about Patristic Nectar Publications.

It's an insidious creature, thisselfishness and brothers and sisters our saviour as calling us not to belike that. He is calling us to be people who takehis blessings for the purpose of sharing, and this is the disposition ofthe Christian. The Christian is a person who shares ancient faith, radio and patristicnectar, publications present the arena Sunday Homilyes and theologicalreflections with father, Jessiah Trenna, Father Desiah is the pastor of SaintAndrew Orthodox Christian Church in Riverside California. He is also thefounder of Patristic Nectrapublications, a nonprofit organization committed tonourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathersfor more information on patristic nnector publications. Please visit ourwebsite at www, dot, patristic nectar, dot, Org and now Father Jesiah, the name of the father and of the sonand of the Holy Spirit, one God. I hope you heard the beautifulprokemanon that reader Ili canted bring on to the Lord O ye sons of God bring onto the Lord Honor and glory. This is why we're here this morning,the worship, the Holy Trinity and as the sons of the living God to bring tohim as a sacrifice from our lips and heartsthe honour and the glory that aredue his name. I have a heart full of many things tospeak to about it has been a enventful week, there's many things that are pressing in our city and I was so proud to see. So many ofyou come and show your love and bear witness to your love for our town andfor its history and for especially the cross of our saviour this last week. But I can't talk to you about it rightnow. It's been a every day in the ring, andI'm weary at this moment of the subject. So I'm not going to say anything more, butthis week I'll send you an update on some important developments. Instead, I want you to to hear me for a moment, brothers andsisters. As I speak to you about the parable of the rich fool that you justheard read in the Holy Gospel there's a saint. I like very much hes,not well known. His name is Cerapian...

...called the Sindenight from it meansthat the linen cloth sait trapping of the linen cloth, because that's theonly thing he wore. That's it a linen cloth and a Gospel of Small Gospel Book. Thisis how he went about in his life of generosity in service to God he kepthis prayer alive. He served God and man and he owned nothing except those twothings, and then he found himself in a circumstance where he was with a beggarwho was cold and he couldn't help himself. So he took off his linen sheetand he wrapped the beggar in the linen sheet, and someone saw him later andsaid Serapion who made you naked and he held up the Gospel, and he saidthis did was a beautiful answer. Our saviour dispossessed himself, notjust of his glory, not just of the wonder and the beautyof being at the right hand, of his fatherand refting in his bosom, where he has always been from all ages. He became one of us and he even tookthe humble position with us. He gave up even the things thatconstitute are kind of tin and Pale earthly glory, like a house place to lay his head a wardrobe with something in it. He didn't get up on the day of theSabbath to go to Synagogu and say to himself what am I going to wear? He didn't do that he marveled for us the virtue of disposition, the glory of self imposed poverty forthe sake of the other Saint Sime, and he new theologian oneof our great teachers of the Eleventh Centur. He says if someone truly loves his neighbor as himself. He can't bear to see his neighbor gowithout. He can't bear it and our saviourmodelled that he showed us that those who listen to the Gospel hear itand there is no text, no collection of teachings ofour saviour, in which poverty is more exalted andvoluntary dispossession out of love for the other, more praise than in thetwelfth chapter of Saint Luke, from where the Gospel reading on the richfool came. Our Saviour taught this parable becauseof a circumstance that had developed a man approached him with a oppressingpersonal need. It was a worldly need. It was aninheritance dispute that he had with...

...his brother, and he approached the Lord Jesus andsaid Master Command my brother to divide the inheritance with me. He didn't even approach Jesus as arabbi and say here the case he assumed he knew the case. He didn't have whatwas rightfully his and he was coming to Jesus to get it done. Jesus became his tool to get what hewanted on the earth and Jesus gave him an exceedingly coarse response. This is troubling, I know, for the milkpost, Jesus concept stroubling, but he said to him first, he said to him: Wetranslated in English man, man. It was not a cordial response, it wasn't, sir. He said man who made me a judge or an arbiter overyour affairs. Now remember. He was speaking to thejudge of the universe. Jesus could have judged his thoughts and the intentionsof his heart, but he refused to involve himself and to allow the Gospel andwhat he came really to do to be cheapened, as though he would come hereto somehow make us get the money we deserve nthen. He said after that interaction he turned to hisdisciples before he gave this parable and he articulated a principle, a verybeautiful principle. He says: Beware. The word means literally guard yourself.The image is, an intruder is trying to get into your house and you're, takingup a stance of position to protect yourself. He says Guard beware ofcovetousness of greed, because even when a man has anabundance of possessions, not in them does his life consist. He articulates this a beautifulstatement that life is not about things. He came to give us life and to give us abundant life. That'srecorded in John's Gospel Chapter. Ten Jesus came to make our lives abundantand to give us an eternal, everlasting life and he's telling us here. That hasnothing to do with your things. We have to keep Jesus out of our things and not try to bring him down and makehim some sort of spiritual Santa Claus so that we can get what we really want. If those things are earthly, he hassomething much better for us much more glorious. You know that greed, that covetousness is so dangerous. It led to the fall ofthe angels from Heaven.

They grew discontent they wanted morethough they had radiance mearness to God and freedom. It wasn't enough for them. They wantedmore and because of that covetousness they fell, and so many angels foundthemselves warped and disfigured orks demons. The father say that covetousness greedis even worse than a lot of the other sins that we face. The father say that greed andcovetousness is an uglier beast than even lost lust. Has a natural antecedent, something that God even put inside ofus that compels men and women to join themselves together in Holy Matrimony.It compels the propagation of the race, the raising up of children and abeautiful life it can be misused desire, can overflow the bounds of theriver banks and become sinful, but it's the abuse of something. That's naturalo. You understand what I'm saying: covetosness has no anticedint in man. Discontent and love of money is so sickbecause it's so unnatural and the fathers say we have to watchout for it, especially when we get older, especially when we get older. When wehave developed our talents, and maybe we've learned to make money, it's then,especially that this demon comes to tempt us, and we have to be careful and, as withthis background, that our saviour tells this beautiful parable of the richfarmer or sometimes he's just called the rich fool. He was a man who had alot of land and he had a windfall a great harvest. He had more crops than he knew what todo about, and it says in the parable at the very beginning as soon as he hadthis blessing as soon as this incredible earthly blessing was givento him by God. It says he thought within himself. His great seed of covetousness was inan evil thought, it's the control of this brothers andsisters. That leads to the good and it's the lack of the control of thisthat leads to the bad and this man's horrible selfishness was first born inhis thoughts instead of having a beautiful thought and thinking what a blessing. What canI do for good with all of this? What what can I give to my kids? Whatcan I give to my church? Who Can I help this Christmas? That's not what hethought.

The first thought he had was all aboutme myself and I five times in the next sentence. FiveTimes the word my appears. He thought to himself about my barns,about my crops, about my fields, about my goods and about my soul. It's anugly repetition, it's an ugly repetition! It's why Saint John Chrisostim says that theworst for letter word in the world, although t wasn't four letters andGreek sorry, but in English it was four letter. It's for letters. The worstfour letter word is not what you think, which is a foul disgusting word that noChristian should have on his mouth ill. Grant you that, but it's not anywherenear as bad as the word mine. That is a foul word. This poor man was consumed by himself,a slave, I'm constantly poking fun, with my kidsand with the youth of our parish about selfishness and how ugly it is, if youcan get on top of it when you're a Tean. If you can learn to hate it and to besuspicious of it and not define yourself your whole life according towhat you want, which is kind of the definition of adolescence. If you cango after it, then you have a good chance to continue to make progressagainst it and to grow as a selfless, loving person. We have a joke where we, we repeat something like this, where the selfishperson is always wanting to talk about himself or herself, and they talked even when no one'slistening dock Docdo Talk Pucktok. Well, I thinkthis no one's asked them what they think, but I think this- and I do wantto do this- and do you know about this, and then they find they tire themselvesout ind the person patiently listening to them and they think. Well, I betterstop a better stop e, better change, the subject, so they do. They say, okayenough enough enough enough about me. We won't talk anymore about me. Let'stalk about you. What do you think about me? It's an insidious creature, thisselfishness and brothers and sisters our Savior as calling us not to be likethat. He is calling us to be people who takehis blessings for the purpose of sharing, and this is the disposition ofthe Christian. The Christian is a person who shares were shocked, as every reader of theacts of the apostles has been for two thousand years were shocked to readthat in the holy city of Jerusalem, that great mother of our faith after the day of Pentecost. There wasthis great outbreak of poverty, because so many Christians had come for theJewish feast of Pentecost...

...had become Christians on the outpouringof the Holy Spirit, ind, the preaching the apostles that they did not want toreturn to their homelands. They wanted to stay first and getdrounded in the teaching of the apostles and then later, with theblessing of the apostles. They would go to their homelands and they would goback to their native lands and the Gospel through them would spread to thecorners of the earth, but they stayed there, some of them for months, many ofthem. For years they had left jobs, left homes and theydidn't return to them for a very long time because of the priority of theirfaith and wanting to be rooted in the teaching of the apostles. And it saysthat this pressing need showed itself in the fact that manywere impoverished. Some had no place to stay, some had nothing to eat and thebelievers in act, chapter four literally sold their properties and brought the funds from the sale ofthe real estate and laid the funds at the feet of the apostles fordistribution. The most famous of these persons isSaint Barnabys, isn't called the son of encouragement, meaning primarily thathe was encouraging people not just by words but tangibly, like dispossessinghimself, in order to take care of others, because he had the love ofChrist in his heart and, as Saint Simeon says, any one who loves his neighbor ashimself can't bear to see the inequality cand bear to see a brother with less ora sister with less. This is the model for us. Were peoplewho share this is our disposition. It's why allthat he's given to us that constitutes earthly wealth, talent, joy, resources, knowledge, food. We alwoyst want to share it.Don't we when we go next door, we always make fun bout, how grod ourcooking ist last night, I had all the catacumans at my house, and they were asking. What can we do?What can we do and how can we fold into the church and serve, and we talkedabout a lot of different things? Don't think I only talked about this, but Idid say I said, look all o you you need. If you don't know how to Cook, you needto learn to cook bottom line. I know cooking's not bigthese days. I know it's not big, but it's big in our faith and it willalways be big in our faith, because it's an expression of love, hospitalityat the heart of hospitality is caring for the other cooking, using hands,baking in love and then serving the Hungary. This is what we do and it's we can't do. Otherwise. We love to take some of ours when abrother or sister sits down and and givtes some to them. We love to feedpeople and bring them to our tables and to make sure that they share what wehave and if we made a nice big play and someone sits down next to us and theyhave a lot less, then we say hey. Let me give you some of this. This is justhow it works with every one of you and...

...it's natural. It doesn't just involve food, but itininvolves our health when one of our own, it's deprived of health, we want tovisit them. We want to share what we have with them. We want them to comeback to that condition. It involves knowledge when we have a good understanding of the faith andwe see a brother or sister who's lacking that who has a deprivation inthis area. Then we speak a word of counsel, a word of encouragementbecause we want to share it's our disposition. We want to share ourwealth, we wouldn't dare to keep our mouth shut, seein maximus the confessor.He says money is an expression and an evidence of love, but it surpassed myspiritual counsel and tangible help for those who are in need. So, yes, money shows that we love, buteven more a word of encouragement, a word of knowledge and tangibly helpingsomeone who needs the help. These are proofs of love. I want to encourage you all to be likethis to nourish within yourself, your ownheart of sharing, and to convince yourself that everything you have ismeant to be shared. Every good thing from God in its ownway, is meant to be shared with your neighbor and selfishness has a horrible horriblefuture. The rich fool tasted it. He thought it was tricked by the abundance of hispossessions. He thought he had the same control over his life that he seemed tohave over his farm. He thought that he would take his ease now that he had all this wealth andthat very night, his soul was required of him and the Lord called him a fool.He was interested in keeping books on his possessions and he forgot that Godkeeps books on our deeds. Let us avoid this scary, frightening selfishness and, let'sshare and brothers and sisters, do it without regret. I know that we're similar. We have alot of the same struggles and I know you'll wret you you' have residence.When I tell you many times, I've given to someone or I've been confronted witha need at the moment- and I felt in me God's leading, give stop what you're doing and take timeand go take this person wherever they need to go, and then you do it in the best case scenario, you do it ten fifteen minutes later or maybe thenext day. You start to think about it. Should I really have given them thatmuch money? Was It really worth taking all thattime?...

These are the little demons that cometo try to steal the glory of sharing by getting us to experience regret. Have you had that happen to you, don't give into that? Don't give intothat give without any reckoning, and without a second thought give like God gives to us Anddon't evaluate afterwards, when Godleaves you and he says, encourage that person give to that person in need.Tell Yourself! Yes, God has given to me so that I can share, because that's whyblessings are given and I'm going to leave the rest in God's hands. May heform that spirit of sharing in us on them. We hope that you have enjoyed and havebeen edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic NecturPublications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing the spirituallythirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers until next time.

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