The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 3 months ago

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

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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 FatherJosiah 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 muchbeloved by believers, not only for its Christological typology, in which it setsforth the death, burial, plundering of Hades and resurrection of our Lord JesusChrist, 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'sBrokenness, rebellion and grace, the love of enemies and much, muchmore. For these and other available titles, visit our website at patristic nectar DodOrg. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trenem. In the nameof the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, blessed Lords, they to all of you, brothers and sisters. Thank you, becausetoday is a day of our Lord's mighty compassion, since this is the dayof the remembrance of that great miracle in the city of Naine where our Lordraised 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'dlike to start my homily by asking for some compassion from you all for someof your fellow parishioners and offering some compassion to our fellow parishioners. There areno small number, sadly, of our parishioners whose livelihoods are seriously threatened atthis 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 bythe United States constitution, it is a terrible, tangible threat to the verylivelihoods of a good number of our parishioners. We have quite a few who donot know if they're going to have their jobs soon. Some have resistedthem at the vaccine because they have young children or nursing children, some becausethey're pregnant, some because they just aren't threatened by the virus a lot ofthese people are young. Why would a young person who is not threatened bythis virus in any serious way do this? Some have serious medical conditions, autoimmunedeficiencies and other things that are threatened by many vaccines, but especially someof 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 onehas been accepted. Not One. Some also have religious objections, issues ofconscience, and the right of conscience is the right most protected in the historyof this nation. It is the very reason this nation exists. Is theright of conscience and the freedom to practiced...

...ones religion in this country unhindered andunmolested by the government, has always been one of our fundamental standards, andso those of our parishioners who have religious issues with this also. I haveyet to hear of one that has been accepted. Some are being reconsidered morethey're people who have asked for these exemptions are receiving letters from their employers askingfor more details, asking what did you ever object to any vaccine and thehistory of your life before Blah Blah, Blah fifty questions. Occasionally, I'mI see these things and prishoners passed them on to me. Whatever is thecase, it's a very tenuous time right here for many of our brothers andsisters 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 youhave seen some of the immense pressure that has been placed upon young people whoare popular public figures, maybe their sports figures. In my little world.You know all that. You know that I like basketball and Andrew Wiggins isa wonderful young player. I followed since he was in high school. Fantasticplayer and devout Christian. And he has issues with the vaccine and he Idon't know exactly what his issues are, but he has issues, issues ofconscience, issues that he says are religious in nature, issues that make himalso the fact that not only is he in that category virtually unthreatened by Covidfor goodness sake, he's a professional athlete. He has resources that none of uscould dream of. These athletes spend something like five hundred thousand to amillion 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 thathe 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 theywere 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 arevaccinated, 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 whoare in the medical field, in the education field, in the military,in all of these areas. Horrific mandates have come down. And, bythe 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 passedby governing authorities that are accountable to the people. Mandates are nonsense, tyrannicalexpressions of anti American government, absolute nonsense. We need to have deep sympathy butthis nonsense is very real and it's could cost, I expect it willcost number, perhaps a significant number, of our own parishioners their own jobs. Lord have mercy. I fully support our parishioners who are going through thisand I want all of us to stand together and support them. I've havesome hope. I have some hope.

Professor from George Mason University recently wona very, very important court case. He was going to lose his jobbecause he wouldn't take his man the the vaccine. Why wouldn't he take thevesting? Because he had covid that's why him, and tens of millions ofAmericans had covid and he knew, since he was a scholar, he knewthat all that would be all of the studies that does address the issue ofnatural immunity say there were sixteen of them at the time when he went tocourt. He knew that all of the studies said that natural immunity is atleast as powerful as the vaccine, and most of the studies that far morepowerful than the vaccine at protecting you from infection. Why would the man wantto get a vaccine? And sure enough, the judge ruled in his favor againstGeorge Mason University on the issue of immunity. Notice how immunity is absolutelynot being discussed whatsoever, and these mandates none. I was also, atthis very happy just two days ago, on Friday, actually was Thursday,was the seventh, to see that the Sixth Federal Circuit Appeals Court upheld asuit that was brought against the university in Michigan. This suit was brought bynumerous collegiate athletes who were banned by their university from participating in their sports unlessthey 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 underthat Federal District Court and perhaps good president, to remove this complicating form of authoritarianismwhich 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. Ifit's God's will for them, then pray that they have the faith and thecourage to not be distressed. Please pray that God would open a new doorfor 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 callinga text of compassion. This raising of the widow Sun and nine is oneof the many gospel texts in St Luke's Gospel that we would not know aboutif 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 ofthe widow Sun and nine or the prodigal son? Who could live a normalChristian Life Without the gospel of the Prodigal Sun? This magnificent account today isin fact depicted in our parish, i. iconographically in the West Vault of theSt John Chrysostom Chapel. That's probably the least viewed portion of the entirechapel 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 frontof you not to run into people. But it shares the Western volved withthe appearance of the risen Lord to Saint Mary Magdalen. So if you wantto see this incredible icon in color, I'll have the sub deacons unlock thechapel and you can just peek in today when you go over there, justopen the doors and look straight up to the western vault and you'll see theicon of our savior raising the widow sun in the funeral procession and nine inthis 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. Iknow 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 beingtold 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 middleof a great crowd, I just couldn't retain it. And I failed badlytoo many times by forgetting things that were told me like this. But notthe Lord. Here's the Lord, it says. There's a great crowd aroundhim, 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 goesright to her. He's moved right to her. Now I'm wondering. I'mwondering about us. I'm wondering about us. I'm wondering about how we would havereacted 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 thisyoung man. To See anyone young die is a nightmare, but this isher only son and she has no husband. Triple misery, triple catastrophe when wehear 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, usuallyI think we'd wince, maybe make the cross for them. I highly doubtwe 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 theGospel. It made me think 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 experiment know grounds for transgendered in the lgbt lobby,back before we started making commercial saying that we welcome everyone who has two momsand thirty four genders. Now, back when we actually cared about fighting anddefending the country. And the commercial went like this. You you saw thesepeople running for their lives and they're running across a plane and there's some awfulconflict behind them, bullets flying everywhere, shrapnel and a dust storm, likethey're being chased by some massive tanks, and the people are running in theirfaces are completely terrified. And then it stops and the camera pans and yousee 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 fireand towards the smoke. And then it just says Marines, yes, yes, it's the parallel. Are are great at settings. Right, the parallelare our greatest set its same anthony, just right into the desert, rightinto the desert. This is exactly that made me think of the Lord.This, this disposition that he had. He went right for her, rightto her I think we might have pulled out our cell phones and we mighthave pushed Google maps and found a way around. Or maybe you know ourspiritual ways app how to avoid the misery,...

...how to avoid the sorrow in ourlives. You know, Jesus wasn't always raising the dead. He couldhave and he will raise every single person, but he didn't go around constantly doingit. In fact, in the Gospel text there are three times thathe raised the dead, and even those resurrections were not like his resurrection ineach 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 raisedhis 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 livesfrom that moment moment on as normal. Highly doubt that. But he isthe firstborn from the dead. He is the first one who was raised beyonddeath into the new life. He's the one who possesses a resurbates your bodyand the only one, the first and only one who did it until heraised his mother, in which his body passed through death not to come backto biological life and die again, but to in fact enter into that glorifiedhumanity that is our future that he will bring to pass for all of thefaithful at the last day. Why did Jesus do this? Why did hechoose to perform this incredible mystery will? One of the reasons he chose isbecause, right at this moment, the very next verses in St Luke's Gospelin Chapter Seven describe the questioning that was going on amongst the disciples of StJohn The baptist. They were wondering. They'd been hearing from John that Christwas the one, that he must that John himself must just decrease and thatChrist must increase, the Christis the one who possesses the spirit, that heis the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Butthey were questioning this, and so Jesus knew this and he chose to performthis 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 andthe 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 thatwere to come to pass when the Messiah came, and he was saying tothem, look, open your eyes, the Scripture is fulfilled. I'm here, my kingdoms, in your don't doubt it. This is why he performedthat. That doesn't mean that he doesn't continue to perform miracles and the miraclesof resurrection. He absolutely does. The acts of the apostles witnesses miracles thathis 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 Ireceived a note from a woman who had hurt me once preaching about, Ithink, about our burial society. She lives, I think, on theEast Coast. She had heard me preaching about our barrel society and about theChristian, the absolutely traditional Christian love and care for the dead from the earliestdays, literally from the time that our people were being martyred in the colisseumhow we would how we cherished the early stages of death and would take theminto our arms. And you, seebious, the Church of story, describes thisa lot in his writings. She called me and she said, father, you mentioned an incredible saint and who when you were giving your talk onthe barrel society. His name was Marcian, she said, and a young manwhom I'm going to sponsor is becoming an Orthodox Christian, wants to takethe 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 receiveher request and by God's help, I...

...fulfilled it. Sat Marcien was oneof 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 atleast ten in our Synoxaurian over the years. I don't think we have any inthe parish, though. I'm just throwing that out for consideration. Marcian, St Marcin actually lived at the time of Emperor Marcian and the Righteous EmpressPulcheria, 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 wasfrom Rome, as parents were actually from Rome, but they moved toConstantinople because this was the time that constantinoples was in its ascendency, it wasreally 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 greateconomos and economosis, the one who oversees all of the income of the greatchurch in Constantinople and the properties and kind of manages making make sure that everythingis managing a spiritual way, in a way that would please Christ and helpthe poor and the sick and further the causes of the church. It's ahuge responsibility and that's what he was. He spent his evenings walking the cityand looking for people to help. Can you imagine, like our Saint Johnof San Francisco, what the saints do with their Free Time? We haveto 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 thepoor sections of the city, the very poor sections where people couldn't afford evento bury their dead, and he would look for dead people. I listento this, this is a description of what he did. The work ofthe final preparation of the dead was considered so sacred by Christians from the beginningthat they would rush to care even for those who had died from a contagiousdisease. You seebious, the historian. He writes the Christians would lift upthe bodies of the faithful deceased in their arms, embrace them, shut theireyes and mouth, carry them on their shoulders and transfer them for washing anddressing in their funeral garments. On the contrary, the Pagans, as soonas they saw someone attack by a contagious disease, would avoid him and wouldeven abandon their loved ones. In the life of St Marcy and we areinformed that, among other things, he would go around at night in thesquares and the narrow streets of the city, concerned about where and when he wouldfind a person, a dead person abandoned because of poverty. Upon findingsuch 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 ifhe were alive, and he would say, come on, brother and communicate thelove of Christ to me. And, at the invitation of the Saint,God, in order to reward the love of his servant, would permitthe 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 muchGod respected set Marcian's prayers and his love for the deceased. Can you imaginethe bowels of compassion? Jesus absolutely will raise us, dear ones. Hedoes it now and then to remind everyone,...

...to remind everyone that he's the Lordof the living in the dead and that the day's coming when he absolutelywill catapult us into the next life, when we will kiss every threat andevery worry goodbye. This Day is coming and his compassion will and his powertogether will accomplish it. I want to end my homily with a a beautifulword. 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 offeredto you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit 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 patristic nectar publications,please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org. Again, that'swww dot patristic nectar dot org.

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