The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 1 year ago

Death Stops Here! | The Raising of the Widow's Son at Nain


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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God's Prodigal Prophet: An Exposition of the Prophecy of Jonah

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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present a four part lecture series by Father Josiah trenum entitled God's Prodigal Prophet, an exposition of the prophecy of Jonah. This text is found amongst the minor prophets of the Old Testament and is much beloved by believers, not only for its Christological typology, in which it sets forth the death, burial, plundering of Hades and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, but also because it is simply packed full of spiritual themes like obedience, repentance, sinful nationalism, God's call, Timission, the enlightenment of the nation's Brokenness, rebellion and grace, the love of enemies and much, much more. For these and other available titles, visit our website at patristic nectar Dod Org. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trenem. In the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, blessed Lords, they to all of you, brothers and sisters. Thank you, because today is a day of our Lord's mighty compassion, since this is the day of the remembrance of that great miracle in the city of Naine where our Lord raised the widow son from the dead in the middle of the funeral procession. I'd like to start my homily, which I've entitled death stops here. I'd like to start my homily by asking for some compassion from you all for some of your fellow parishioners and offering some compassion to our fellow parishioners. There are no small number, sadly, of our parishioners whose livelihoods are seriously threatened at this moment. I wish this wasn't the case. As you might guess, this all has to do with the unconstitutional vaccine mandates that have been placed. This is not just a grotesque violation of the freedom that is guaranteed us by the United States constitution, it is a terrible, tangible threat to the very livelihoods of a good number of our parishioners. We have quite a few who do not know if they're going to have their jobs soon. Some have resisted them at the vaccine because they have young children or nursing children, some because they're pregnant, some because they just aren't threatened by the virus a lot of these people are young. Why would a young person who is not threatened by this virus in any serious way do this? Some have serious medical conditions, autoimmune deficiencies and other things that are threatened by many vaccines, but especially some of these covid vaccines that have had some negative consequences with certain types of diseases. So they've asked for medical exemptions. I have yet to hear that one has been accepted. Not One. Some also have religious objections, issues of conscience, and the right of conscience is the right most protected in the history of this nation. It is the very reason this nation exists. Is the right of conscience and the freedom to practiced...

...ones religion in this country unhindered and unmolested by the government, has always been one of our fundamental standards, and so those of our parishioners who have religious issues with this also. I have yet to hear of one that has been accepted. Some are being reconsidered more they're people who have asked for these exemptions are receiving letters from their employers asking for more details, asking what did you ever object to any vaccine and the history of your life before Blah Blah, Blah fifty questions. Occasionally, I'm I see these things and prishoners passed them on to me. Whatever is the case, it's a very tenuous time right here for many of our brothers and sisters in this parish and I want to ask you to pray for them. Put yourselves in their shoes. Put yourselves in their shoes. Some of you have seen some of the immense pressure that has been placed upon young people who are popular public figures, maybe their sports figures. In my little world. You know all that. You know that I like basketball and Andrew Wiggins is a wonderful young player. I followed since he was in high school. Fantastic player and devout Christian. And he has issues with the vaccine and he I don't know exactly what his issues are, but he has issues, issues of conscience, issues that he says are religious in nature, issues that make him also the fact that not only is he in that category virtually unthreatened by Covid for goodness sake, he's a professional athlete. He has resources that none of us could dream of. These athletes spend something like five hundred thousand to a million dollars a year on their health fully supported by their own teams. The man does not need a vaccine, and yet he was pressed so badly that he took the vaccine and I saw a very sad interview, a very, very sad interview with him, and he basically said I took it and they were trying to get him to talk because I really don't want to talk. And they said why? They said because you forced me to do this. You forced me to do this. So said. Those of you who are vaccinated, please pray for your brothers and sisters who are in this tenuous situation. Those of you who are not vaccinated but are not threatened in your employment, please put yourself in the shoes of your brothers and sisters right now who are in the medical field, in the education field, in the military, in all of these areas. Horrific mandates have come down. And, by the way, between me and you, what the heck is a mandate? We don't believe in mandates. This is a nation of laws that are passed by governing authorities that are accountable to the people. Mandates are nonsense, tyrannical expressions of anti American government, absolute nonsense. We need to have deep sympathy but this nonsense is very real and it's could cost, I expect it will cost number, perhaps a significant number, of our own parishioners their own jobs. Lord have mercy. I fully support our parishioners who are going through this and I want all of us to stand together and support them. I've have some hope. I have some hope.

Professor from George Mason University recently won a very, very important court case. He was going to lose his job because he wouldn't take his man the the vaccine. Why wouldn't he take the vesting? Because he had covid that's why him, and tens of millions of Americans had covid and he knew, since he was a scholar, he knew that all that would be all of the studies that does address the issue of natural immunity say there were sixteen of them at the time when he went to court. He knew that all of the studies said that natural immunity is at least as powerful as the vaccine, and most of the studies that far more powerful than the vaccine at protecting you from infection. Why would the man want to get a vaccine? And sure enough, the judge ruled in his favor against George Mason University on the issue of immunity. Notice how immunity is absolutely not being discussed whatsoever, and these mandates none. I was also, at this very happy just two days ago, on Friday, actually was Thursday, was the seventh, to see that the Sixth Federal Circuit Appeals Court upheld a suit that was brought against the university in Michigan. This suit was brought by numerous collegiate athletes who were banned by their university from participating in their sports unless they got the vaccine. They went to court and they won. They won, thank God, and that's good precedent for those four states that are under that Federal District Court and perhaps good president, to remove this complicating form of authoritarianism which is really threatening people's lives. May God have mercy on us. Please make it a matter of your prayer for our brothers and sisters. If it's God's will for them, then pray that they have the faith and the courage to not be distressed. Please pray that God would open a new door for them of employment so that they can take care of themselves and their families. God help them. This morning. This marvelous text, but I'm calling a text of compassion. This raising of the widow Sun and nine is one of the many gospel texts in St Luke's Gospel that we would not know about if St Luke had not written as Gospel. Think of how precious that is. Can you mengtione having your Christian life and not knowing about the raising of the widow Sun and nine or the prodigal son? Who could live a normal Christian Life Without the gospel of the Prodigal Sun? This magnificent account today is in fact depicted in our parish, i. iconographically in the West Vault of the St John Chrysostom Chapel. That's probably the least viewed portion of the entire chapel because as you walk in it's literally right above your head and you're not looking up most of you when you walk in. Thankfully you're looking in front of you not to run into people. But it shares the Western volved with the appearance of the risen Lord to Saint Mary Magdalen. So if you want to see this incredible icon in color, I'll have the sub deacons unlock the chapel and you can just peek in today when you go over there, just open the doors and look straight up to the western vault and you'll see the icon of our savior raising the widow sun in the funeral procession and nine in this disposition of our Savior we see how completely focused he is on our misery, on our trouble. The Lord was...

...surrounded by a great crowd. I know what it is like, especially on Sundays, especially just after the liturgy, to be surrounded by a great crowd. It's hard to remember who you are. It's also hard to remember exactly what you're told, especially sometimes. Some of my most embarrassing, really horrifically embarrassing moments as a pastor is being told something very important that I should never in a thousand years have forgotten, but because it took place in the middle of a hubbub, in the middle of a great crowd, I just couldn't retain it. And I failed badly too many times by forgetting things that were told me like this. But not the Lord. Here's the Lord, it says. There's a great crowd around him, and there's a great crowd around the funeral roll A. Nonetheless, our Lord, his inner sense sees the woman and feels for her and goes right to her. He's moved right to her. Now I'm wondering. I'm wondering about us. I'm wondering about us. I'm wondering about how we would have reacted if we saw this totally hopeless scenario. This woman is at the front of the procession. It's an open beer. Of course they're carrying this young man. To See anyone young die is a nightmare, but this is her only son and she has no husband. Triple misery, triple catastrophe when we hear and think things like that, especially if we don't know the person well and there's no evidence that Jesus has ever met this person before, usually I think we'd wince, maybe make the cross for them. I highly doubt we would invade their space. I highly doubt that we would like a magnet, go right to them to assist them. But that's exactly what the Lord does. It made me think as I was reflecting this week up on the Gospel. It made me think about an incredible commercial for our armed forces that used to run some years ago. This was back when we weren't interested in turning our armed forces into experiment know grounds for transgendered in the lgbt lobby, back before we started making commercial saying that we welcome everyone who has two moms and thirty four genders. Now, back when we actually cared about fighting and defending the country. And the commercial went like this. You you saw these people running for their lives and they're running across a plane and there's some awful conflict behind them, bullets flying everywhere, shrapnel and a dust storm, like they're being chased by some massive tanks, and the people are running in their faces are completely terrified. And then it stops and the camera pans and you see another group of people and they're also running at high speeds toward the conflict. Are Soldiers, running right towards the bullets, running right towards the fire and towards the smoke. And then it just says Marines, yes, yes, it's the parallel. Are are great at settings. Right, the parallel are our greatest set its same anthony, just right into the desert, right into the desert. This is exactly that made me think of the Lord. This, this disposition that he had. He went right for her, right to her I think we might have pulled out our cell phones and we might have pushed Google maps and found a way around. Or maybe you know our spiritual ways app how to avoid the misery,... to avoid the sorrow in our lives. You know, Jesus wasn't always raising the dead. He could have and he will raise every single person, but he didn't go around constantly doing it. In fact, in the Gospel text there are three times that he raised the dead, and even those resurrections were not like his resurrection in each case that he performed a miracle like this, when he raised gyrus's daughter, when he raised the widow's son, and today's Gospel, when he raised his friend Lazarus, and every case he brought them back to physiological life, black to normal fall in life. Now I doubt they would describe their lives from that moment moment on as normal. Highly doubt that. But he is the firstborn from the dead. He is the first one who was raised beyond death into the new life. He's the one who possesses a resurbates your body and the only one, the first and only one who did it until he raised his mother, in which his body passed through death not to come back to biological life and die again, but to in fact enter into that glorified humanity that is our future that he will bring to pass for all of the faithful at the last day. Why did Jesus do this? Why did he choose to perform this incredible mystery will? One of the reasons he chose is because, right at this moment, the very next verses in St Luke's Gospel in Chapter Seven describe the questioning that was going on amongst the disciples of St John The baptist. They were wondering. They'd been hearing from John that Christ was the one, that he must that John himself must just decrease and that Christ must increase, the Christis the one who possesses the spirit, that he is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. But they were questioning this, and so Jesus knew this and he chose to perform this miracle in order to answer them. He immediately turns his attention to them. He said, looked, the poor have the gospel preach to them, the lepers are healed, the blind are seeing, the death are hearing and the dead are raised up. Blessed is the one who doesn't stumble over me. He was quoting directly from the prophecy of Isaiah about all the predictions that were to come to pass when the Messiah came, and he was saying to them, look, open your eyes, the Scripture is fulfilled. I'm here, my kingdoms, in your don't doubt it. This is why he performed that. That doesn't mean that he doesn't continue to perform miracles and the miracles of resurrection. He absolutely does. The acts of the apostles witnesses miracles that his apostles performed in his name. Church history is full of miracles of resurrection. It's not like it doesn't happen, it just happens rarely throughout church history, just like it happened rarely in Jesus his own ministry. This week I received a note from a woman who had hurt me once preaching about, I think, about our burial society. She lives, I think, on the East Coast. She had heard me preaching about our barrel society and about the Christian, the absolutely traditional Christian love and care for the dead from the earliest days, literally from the time that our people were being martyred in the colisseum how we would how we cherished the early stages of death and would take them into our arms. And you, seebious, the Church of story, describes this a lot in his writings. She called me and she said, father, you mentioned an incredible saint and who when you were giving your talk on the barrel society. His name was Marcian, she said, and a young man whom I'm going to sponsor is becoming an Orthodox Christian, wants to take the name of the name Marcian, and I want to get him a icon, but I need more details on St Marcian. of So happy to receive her request and by God's help, I...

...fulfilled it. Sat Marcien was one of those that Jesus used in church history to raise dead people. Amazing, man. There's lots of St Marcien's, just so you know, about at least ten in our Synoxaurian over the years. I don't think we have any in the parish, though. I'm just throwing that out for consideration. Marcian, St Marcin actually lived at the time of Emperor Marcian and the Righteous Empress Pulcheria, around the middle of the fifth century, about fur hundred and fifty. The time of the fourth Ecumenical Council. He was a priest at he was from Rome, as parents were actually from Rome, but they moved to Constantinople because this was the time that constantinoples was in its ascendency, it was really replacing Rome and its centrality, and his family came from a senatorial family. They moved to Constantinople and he became a priest and he became the great economos and economosis, the one who oversees all of the income of the great church in Constantinople and the properties and kind of manages making make sure that everything is managing a spiritual way, in a way that would please Christ and help the poor and the sick and further the causes of the church. It's a huge responsibility and that's what he was. He spent his evenings walking the city and looking for people to help. Can you imagine, like our Saint John of San Francisco, what the saints do with their Free Time? We have to find someone to help, we have to find someone who needs my prayers. He specially used to look for people who were he would go to the poor sections of the city, the very poor sections where people couldn't afford even to bury their dead, and he would look for dead people. I listen to this, this is a description of what he did. The work of the final preparation of the dead was considered so sacred by Christians from the beginning that they would rush to care even for those who had died from a contagious disease. You seebious, the historian. He writes the Christians would lift up the bodies of the faithful deceased in their arms, embrace them, shut their eyes and mouth, carry them on their shoulders and transfer them for washing and dressing in their funeral garments. On the contrary, the Pagans, as soon as they saw someone attack by a contagious disease, would avoid him and would even abandon their loved ones. In the life of St Marcy and we are informed that, among other things, he would go around at night in the squares and the narrow streets of the city, concerned about where and when he would find a person, a dead person abandoned because of poverty. Upon finding such a person, he would rejoice as if he had found a precious treasure. He would then take the deceased and care for him addressing him as if he were alive, and he would say, come on, brother and communicate the love of Christ to me. And, at the invitation of the Saint, God, in order to reward the love of his servant, would permit the dead man momentarilyly to rise and greet him. Christ is in our midst, and then die again. That's how Saint Marcia lived. That's how much God respected set Marcian's prayers and his love for the deceased. Can you imagine the bowels of compassion? Jesus absolutely will raise us, dear ones. He does it now and then to remind everyone,... remind everyone that he's the Lord of the living in the dead and that the day's coming when he absolutely will catapult us into the next life, when we will kiss every threat and every worry goodbye. This Day is coming and his compassion will and his power together will accomplish it. I want to end my homily with a a beautiful word. It's from St Efrem, the Syrian, commenting on this Gospel text. He says Jesus is a sponge for our tears and life for our death. 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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