The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 3 months 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, DadOrg, patristic nectar. Publications ispleased to present a four part lecture series. My Father Jesira entitled God'sProdigal Prophet An exposition of the prophecy of Jonah. This text is found amongst the minorprofits of the Old Testament and is much beloved by believers, not only forits Christological typology, in which it sets forth the death, burial,plundering of Hades and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, but also becauseit is simply packed full of spiritual themes. Like obedience, repentancesinful nationalism, God's call to mission, the enlightenment of thenations, brokenness rebellion and grace the love of enemies and much much morefor these and other available titles visit our website at patristic nectar,not a work, and now the arena with Father JosiahTrene, the name of the father and of the sonand of the Holy Spirit, blessed Lords. They t all of you,brothers and sisters. Thank you because to day is a day of our Lord'smighty compassion, since this is the day of theremembrance of that great miracle in the city of Nain, where our Lord raisedthe widow's son from the dead in the middle of the funeral procession. I'dlike to start my homily, which I have entitled death stops here, I'd like tostart my homily by asking for some compassion from you all forsome of your fellow parishioners and offering some compassion to our fellowparishioners. There are no small number, sadly of our parishioners, whoselivelihoods are seriously threatened at this moment. I wish this wasn't thecase, as you might guess, this all has to dowith the unconstitutional vaccine mandates thathave been placed. This is not just a grotesque violationof the freedom that is guaranteed us by the United States Constitution. It is a terrible, tangible threat to the verylivelihoods of a good number of our parishoners. We have quite a few who do not know ifthey're going to have their jobs soon. Some have resisted the Mat. The vaccine,because they have young children, are nursingchildren, some because they're pregnant some, because they just aren'tthreatened by the virus. A lot of these people are young. Why would a young person who is not threatened by this virus inany serious way? Do this? Some have serious medical conditions,auto immune deficiencies and other things that are threatened by manyvaccines, but especially some of these covin vaccines that have had somenegative consequences with certain types of diseases. So they've asked formedical 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 historyof this nation. It is the very reason this nation exists is the right ofconscience...

...and the freedom to practise ones. Religionin this country, unhindered and unmolested by the government has alwaysbeen one of our fundamental standards, and so those of our parishioners whohave religious issues with this also I have yet to hear of one that has been accepted. Some are being reconsidered more there. People who have asked forthese exemptions are receiving letters from their employers asking for moredetails asking what did you ever object to any vaccine and the history of yourlife before Blah Blah Blah fifty questions? Occasionally I see these things and prisoners passthem on to me. Whatever is the case, it's a very tenuous time right here formany of our brothers and sisters in this parish, and I want to ask you topray for them. Put yourselves in their shoes. Put yourselves in their shoes. Some ofyou have seen some of the immense pressure that has been placedupon young people, who are popular public figures, may be their sportsfigures in my little world. You know that you know that I, likebasketball and Andrew Wiggins, is a wonderful youngplayer I followed, since he was in high school, fantastic player and a devout Christian, and he hasissues with the vaccine and he I don't know exactly what his issues are, buthe has issues issues of conscience, issues that he says or religious innature, issues that make him also. The fact that not only is he in thatcategory, virtually unthreatened by Covil for good ness sake, he's aprofessional athlete. He has resources that none of us coulddream of. These athletes spent something likefive hundred thousand to a million dollars a year on their health, fully supported by their own teams. Theman does not need a vaccine, and yet he was pressed so badly that he took the vaccine, andI saw a very sad interview, a very, very sad interview with him and hebasically said I took it and they were trying to gethim to talk. He goes. I really don't want to talk and they said why theysaid, because you forced me to do this. You forced me to do this. So said those of you who are vaccinated, pleasepray for your brothers and sisters who are in this tenuous situation. Those ofyou who are not vaccinated but are not threatened in your employment. Pleaseput yourself in the shoes of your brothers and sisters right now who arein the medical field in the education field, in the military. In all of these areas, horrific mandatehave come down and by the way between me and you what the heck is a mandate. We don't believe in mandates. This is anation of laws that are passed by governing authorities that areaccountable to the people. Mandates are non sense, tyrannical expressions ofanti American government, absolute nonsense. We need to have deep sympathy, but thisnonsense is very real and its could cost. I expect it will cough number,perhaps a significant number of our own parishioners, their own jobs. Lord, have mercy. I fully support our prisoners who are going throughthis, and I want all of us to stand together and support them. I've. I havesome hope. I have some hope. A professor fromGeorge Mason University recently won a...

...very, very important court case. He wasgoing to lose his job because he wouldn't take his mat, the the vaccine.Why wouldn't he take the vesting because he had Covin? That's why himand tens of millions of Americans had coved and he knew since he was ascholar. He knew that all that would be all of the studies thatdo address the issue of natural immunity say there were sixteen of themat the time when he went to court. He knew that all of the studies saidthat natural immunity is at least as powerful as the vaccine and most of thestudies said far more powerful than the vaccine at protecting you frominfection. Why would the man want to get a vaccine and sure enough? Thejudge ruled in his favor against GeorgeMasian University on the issue of immunity notice, how immunity isabsolutely not being discussed whatsoever in these mandates. None. Iwas also tiser happy just two days ago, on Friday actually was Thursday. Was the seventh to see that the Sixth Federal CircuitAppeals Court upheld a suit that was brought againstthe University in Michigan? This suit was brought by numerouscollegian athletes who were banned by their university from participating intheir sports unless they got the vaccine, they went to court and theywon. They won, thank God, and that's good precedent for those four statesthat are under that Federal District Court and perhaps good president toremove this complicating form of authoritarianismwhich is really threatening people's lives. May God have mercy on us? Please make it a matter of your prayerF for our brothers and sisters, if it's God's will for them, then pray thatthey have the faith and the courage to not be distressed. Please pray that God would open a newdoor for them of employment so that they can take care of themselves andtheir families. God help them this morning, this marvellous text, butI'm calling a text of compassion. This raising of the widow, son and Nain isone of the many gospel texts in Saint Luke's Gospel that we would not knowabout if Saint Luke had not written his Gospel. Think of how precious that is,can you mention having your Christian life and not knowing about the raisingof the widow son and in or the prodigal son who could live a normal Christian lifewithout the the gospel of the Producta Sun? This magnificent account to day is infact depicted in our parish. I can ograph ically in the West Vault of theSaint John Crysostum 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, notlooking up most of you when you walk in thankfully you're looking in front ofyou not to run into people, but it shares the western vault with theappearance of the risen Lord to Saint Mary Magdalen. So if you want to seethis incredible icon in color I'll, have the sub deacons unlockthe chapel, and you can just peek in today when you go over there, just openthe doors and look straight up to the western vaulting you'll see the icon ofour Savior, raising the widow son in the funeral procession and Naim in this disposition of our saviour. Wesee how completely focused he is on our misery...

...on our trouble. The Lord was surroundedby a great crowd. I know what is like, especially onSundays, especially just after the liturgy to be surrounded by a greatcrowd. It's hard to remember who you are it's also hard to remember exactlywhat you're told, especially sometimes some of my mostembarrassing, really horrifically embarrassing moments as a pastor isbeing told something very important that I should never in a thousand yearshave forgotten, but because it took place in the middle of a hubbub in themiddle of a great crowd. I just couldn't retain it and I failed badlytoo many times by forgetting things that were told melike this, but not the Lord. Here of the Lord. It says: There's a greatcrowd around him and there's a great crowd around the funeral and none theless our Lord. His inner sense sees the woman and feels for her and goes right to her. He moved right to her. Now I'mwondering I'm wondering about us, I'm wondering about us, I'm wondering abouthow we would have reacted if we saw this totally hopeless scenario. This woman is at thefront of the procession. It's an open beer, of course, they're carrying this young man to seeany one. Young Guy is a nightmare, but this is her only son and she has nohusband triple misery, tripled catastrophe whenwe hear and think things like that, especially if we don't know the personwell and there's no evidence that Jesus has ever met this person before, usually I think we'd wint maybe make the cross for them. I highlydoubt we would invade their space. I highly doubt that we would like amagnet 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 methink about an incredible commercial for our armed forces thatused to run some years ago. This was back when we weren't interested inturning our armed forces into experimental grounds for transgenderedin the lgbt lobby. Back before we started makingcommercial saying that we welcome everyone who has two moms and thirty four genders now back when we actually cared aboutfighting and defending the country and the commercial went like this, you, yousaw these people running for their lives and they're running across a plane andthere's some awful conflict behind them. Bullets flying everywhere, trapin and adust storm like they're being chased by some massive tanks and the people thatare running in their faces are completely terrified and then it stopsand the camera pans. And you see another group of people and they'realso running at high speeds toward the conflict. Are soldiersrunning right towards the bullets running right towards the fire andtowards the smoke, and then it just says: Marines? Yes, yes, it's the parallel, er orgreat ascetics right. The parallel are our great esthetics Saint, Anthony justright into the desert right into the desert. This is exactly that made me think ofthe Lord this this disposition that he had. He went right for her right to her. I think we might have pulled out ourcell phones and we might have pushed Google maps and found a way around, ormaybe you know our spiritual ways app... to avoid the misery, how to avoidthe sorrow in our lives. You know, Jesus wasn't always raisingthe dead he could have and he will raise every single person, but hedidn't go around constantly doing it. In fact, in the Gospel texts, there arethree times that he raised the dead and even those resurrections were not likehis resurrection in each case that he performed a miracle like thiswhen he raised gyrus, 's daughter when he raised the widow's son in today'sGospel when he raised his friend Lazarus in every case, he brought themback to physiological life, lack the normal fall in life. Now I doubt theywould describe their lives from that Mont moment on as normal highly doubt that, but he is the first born from the dead.He is the first one who was raised beyond death into the new life, he'sthe one who possesses a reservee body and the only one, the first, and onlyone 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 thatglorified humanity. That is our future that he will bring to pass for all ofthe faithful at the last day. Why did Jesus do this? Why did hechoose to perform this incredible mystery? Will one of the reasons hechose this because right at this moment, the very next verses in Saint Luke'sGospel in Chapter Seven described the questioning that was going on amongstthe disciples of Saint John, the Baptist? They were wondering they'dbeen hearing from John that Christ was the one that he must. That John Himself MustDis decrease in that Christ must increase that Christ is the one whopossesses the spirit that he is the lamb of God who takes away the sins ofthe world, but they were questing this and so Jesus knew this and he chose toperform this miracle in order to answer them. He immediately turns hisattention to them. He said: Look the Poor Have the gospel preached tothem. The lepers are healed, the blind areseeing the death are hearing and the dead are raised up. Blessed is the onewho doesn't stumble over me. He was quoting directly from the prophecy ofIsaiah about all the predictions that were to come to pass when the Messiahcame, and he was saying to them look open your eyes. The scripture isfulfilled. I am here my kingdoms in here. Don't doubt it. This is why heperformed that. That doesn't mean that he doesn'tcontinue to perform miracles and the miracles of resurrection. He absolutelydoes the acts of the apostles witnesses miracles that his apostles performed inhis name. Church history is full of miracles of resurrection. It's not likeit doesn't happen. It just happens rarely throughout church history, justlike it happened. Rarely in Jesus's own ministry. This week I received a note from awoman who had heard me once preaching about, I think about ourburial society. She lives, I think, on the East Coast. She had heard mepreaching about our barrel society and about the Christian, the absolutelytraditional Christian, love and care for the dead from the earliest days,literally from the time that our people were being Marjoram, the Coliseum, howwe would how we cherished the early stages of death and would take theminto our arms and Usefu. The church's torn describes thisa lot in his writings. She called me she said father, youmentioned an incredible saint and who, when you were giving your talkon the barrel society, his name was Marcian. She said, and a young man whom I'm going to sponsor is becomingan Orthodox Christian, wants to take the name of the name Marcian, and Iwant to get him a icon. But I need more details on SaintMarcian. I was so happy to receive her...

...request and by God's help I fulfilledit. Saint Martin was one of those thatJesus used in church history to raise dead people. Amazing man there's lots of Satin marsine just soyou know about at least ten in our synaxarium over the years. I don'tthink we have any in the parish, so I'm just throwing that out forconsideration. Marcian Saint Marsan actually lived atthe time of Emperor Marcian and the righteous emperess pulcheria around themiddle of the fifth century. About four fifty the time of the fourth cumenicalcouncil, he was a priest at e was from Rome. Hisparents were actually from Rome, but they moved to Constantinople, becausethis was the time that Constantinople was in its ascendancy. It was reallyreplacing Rome in its centrality, and his family came from a senatorialfamily, they moved to Constantinople and he became a priest and he becamethe great echonoe and economises the one who oversees all of the income ofthe great church in Constantinople and the properties and kind of manages making make sure that everything ismanaged in a spiritual way in a way that would please Christ and help thepoor and the sick and further the causes of the church. It's a hugeresponsibility and that's what he was. He spent his evenings, walking the cityand looking for people to help. Can you imagine, like our Saint John of SanFrancisco, what the saints do with their Free Time? We have to find someone to help. Wehave to find some one who needs my prayers. He especially used to look for peoplewho were he would go to the poor sections of the city, the very poorsections where people couldn't afford even to bury their dead, and he wouldlook for dead people. Listen to this. This is a description of what he did. The work of the final preparation ofthe dead was considered so sacred by Christians from the beginning that theywould rush to care. Even for those who had died from a contagious disease Eusebius the historian, he writes theChristians would lift up the bodies of the faithful deceased in their arms, embrace them shut their eyes and mouthcarry them on their shoulders and transfer them for washing and dressingin their funeral garments. On the contrary, the Pagans, as soon asthey saw some one attacked by a contagious disease, would avoid him andwould even abandon their loved ones in the life of Saint Marci, and we areinformed that, among other things, he would go around at night in the squaresand the narrow streets of the city concerned about where and when he wouldfind a person a dead person abandoned because of poverty upon finding such a person. He wouldrejoice as if he had found a precious treasure. He would then take the deceased andcare for him addressing him as if he were alive, and he would say, come on brother andcommunicate the love of Christ to me and at the invitation of the Saint Godin order to reward the love of his servant, would permit the dead manmomentarily to rise and greet him. Christ is in our midst and then die again. That's how Saint Marcian lived. That'show much God respected Saint Marcin's prayers and his love for the deceased.Can you imagine the bowels of compassion? Jesus absolutely will raise US dearonce. He does it now and then to remind everyone... remind every one that he's the Lordof the living and the dead and that the days coming when he absolutely willcatapult us into the next life, when we will kiss every threat and every worrygood bye this day is coming and his compassion will and his power togetherwill accomplish it. I want to end my homily with a beautiful word: it's from Saint Efram, 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 havebeen edified by this presentation offered to you by patristic nectar,publications, a non proft organization committed to nourishing the spirituallythirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. If you are interested inother available titles or if you would like more information on patristicnectar publications, please visit our website at the www dot, patristicnectar, dot, org again, that's W W W dot, patristic nectar Dodo. I.

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