The Arena
The Arena

Episode 565 · 8 months ago

Doubt | Sunday of Saint Thomas 2022


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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Hey everyone, Christ is risen. It's father Josiah. I want to tell you about our upcoming annual patristic nectar conference. It's entitled Holy Orthodoxy, presenting the Christian faith. It's going to be June three to five here at St Andrew Church in Riverside. I'd like to invite you all to come. You can come in person or you can schedule yourself to participate in the live stream, including q and a, and you'll be able to have all of the presentations put into your account at the conclusion of the conference. We have a great lineup of speakers. The keynotes father maximus constance, but dr t conpino will be speaking, father bog down booker and myself. Hope you can come. God be with you. For these and other titles, please visit our website at patristic 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, Christ is risen. This wonderful Sunday of St Thomas there ones is called in the church ANTIPASCA, in place of PASCA. The church appointed this feast as the first celebration after the resurrection of the dead. The first Sunday as a marker, to remind us that every Sunday is a little PASCA. Every Sunday is the celebration of the reserve action of our Savior. So don't think, especially you new beasts, a lot of you too. The past is done, Poscoe, we just celebrated last Sunday. We went through bright week. We're going to celebrate it vigorously for forty days, not kneeling on the ground, not sharing sorrows with each other, and then we perpetually keep Pascale alive in our hearts so that our life can be built on it, by remembering every Sunday as Curio key, the day of the Lord, the day...

...of the Lord's resurrection. This is the first of all. The rest of the Sundays of the year, you won't have your magnificent, bright and luminous baptismal garments on for all those Sundays, but on the inside you should. On the inside you should what a joy it's been these last several weeks, such a precious time, so sublime, the most dear of the whole year, starting with the joys of Lazarus, Saturday and Palm Sunday and then, step by step, moving through that most sublime progression of Holy week leading up to our saviors crucifixion in the flesh, that incredible redemptive Baptismal Liturgy of holy Saturday and then in the middle of the night celebrating Jesus is resurrection and those Majestic Bright Week liturgies. It doesn't get better than this. There ones, this is our faith, this is the the joy of the year for us. This is when grace is poured out on our heads and we gather it and we keep it alive. I have had the privilege for well some decades now of being able to come out great and holy Thursday night and venerate our Lord Crucified and then to watch you all in the darkness. It's one of the most moving parts of my pastor is to sit in the corner of the church. As my eyes have gotten worse, I've had to get closer and closer. I used to sit back there in the corner in the old hall. No one ever saw me. Now I have to kind of move closer...

...just to see who's who and what's happening. But I watch you all come and venerate the stopped roll Menos, the Lord on the Cross. Such devotion, such faith, you show, such love. Little ones, middle ones and old ones, all coming and prostrating before the Lord, bringing your tears, bringing your lips, your faith, kissing his feet, believing strongly in what your savior did for your salvation. It's a marvelous evening. That devotion, that experience that you have on holy Thursday night. That should be normative in your life. Every time you pick up your cross in the morning, when you wake up and you put that cross around your neck, you should have the same disposition, the same adoration, the same utter total resolve to love him in return, to stick true to him, to bear that cross wherever it leads you. That's what it should be. You were thinking that way on holy Thursday night, weren't you? I think so. I think so, and that's how you should think every day. Every day, they do affix yourself to the cross, and that's also one of the reasons we wear the cross. I'll say this especially to the newly baptized, who had your crosses publicly blast and put on your neck by a priest with a precious word. Everyone had the same word. Are Save there says. Whoever wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. Bearing the Cross is the core of the Christian life. And where your cross not as bling, where it as an act of faith every..., go nowhere without it. Put Your Cross in on the cross that was given to you in your holy baptism and remember, remember who you serve, the faith that you all expressed and holy week and on Pasca. It is certainly a wonder to behold, and it is that which is changing the world, the world around you, inside your own heart and in your families. Today, on Thomas Sunday, both the Aophenom Gospel and the Gospel that you just heard. How the alternative theme doubt, and that's what I like to spend the rest of my homily talking about, is doubt. You heard about it first in the Althenom Gospel, that Beautiful Gospel when Jesus Gathers in Galilee, he gathers his disciples and he gives them the great commission go into all the world, make disciples of all the nations. All Authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me. I'm going to get this done through you, this is what he's saying. I'm going to get it done. And it says they all worshiped him, but some doubted. Can you imagine? This wasn't the day of the resurrection, this was some days. They had plenty of time to hear from him. He appeared to more than five hundred people, he gave extensive teachings. He was back. Yet still some of those faithful weren't faithful, at least not completely. Some doubted. And then you heard the Gospel today. One of the twelve, one of the twelve Thomas, refused to believe, as though the Lord's words weren't enough.

The Lord had prepared them for his death and resurrection over and over and over again. As though the Lord's words weren't enough, not even the disciples who saw him, not even their words were enough. His closest friends, the people that he had just weathered life and limb with for three years, with whom he performed miracles, their word wasn't enough either. What causes this? What was his problem and what's ours? Why do we doubt? It's not just because cell phones have invaded our life. I think the presence of cell phones and God's tolerance of them in the church is a witness to his faith fulness and his utter total patience. Things, I promise you. Of I was God, thank the Lord. None of us are huh a number. None of us have that power. God is so patient with us to put up with these atrocious incursions into holiness. Should I just wait a few more minutes until they think, think it's turned off. Let's just wait. Let's just wait. You know, I told you, I think many years ago, that I did some research into an Israeli anti Wi fi system that I tell you about this. Yeah, I actually presented it to the Paris Council. Yeah, it's a super cool if only it's the Mussaud invented. It didn't go over so great with the Council that you can put it on the wall and then it shuts off all wifi ability within the neck with a...

...two hundred foot radius, and it was only like a couple thousand dollars. The problem was that this highly illegal United States and therefore they didn't go for it. Can we can we have an usher come and help find the a phone, wherever it may be? Sounds like it was secretly placed somewhere, maybe inside of a pillar. Let's look at me, though, Har let's look at me. Let's not look at people and embarrass them. Huh, let's look at me. Thank you very much, but let's also smash the cell phones. Thank you. Why do we doubt, dear ones? Why? I think there's a lot of reasons and I think we need, all of us, a lot more faith. I also think we need a lot more doubting. Frankly, I really do not in God, but a lot more doubting in ourself. If we doubted ourself, left with without God, we doubt ourselves more. We would doubt God less. A lot of our doubt comes from over confidence, from a certain form of pride that covers the heart and makes us insensitive to his presence and untrusting of his words. Sometimes we also doubt because of well, the worldly spirit, I guess I would call it. Sometimes we doubt also because, as C s Lewis says, we ate something and digestion wasn't working very well. Frankly, sometimes we were in foul moods. Sometimes the doubt that we have in our life simply proceeds from our instability. Our instability because stability is a virtue. Stability is something that we established in our life by being connected to the one who doesn't move, the one who is the same yesterday, today and forever. The more...

...were affixed to him, the more solidly, solidly we stand, and the harder it is for us, by distracting thoughts or doubtful thoughts, to be thrown away from a position of confidence with him. Sometimes we doubt because it's God's will. He moves away from us because he wants us to grow, he wants us to explore and sometimes many, many beautiful things. Second only two cell phones. Sometimes the only way that we can make progress in our life is by God stepping back so that we grope for him, we look for him, we seek him. Faith is not always bad, and believing in God is serious business. If we have a trivial approach to faith, then we can lose it very, very quickly if we think God can be apprehended easily or in a light or carefree way. That's not the case. You know, Same Basil, the Great Road of beautiful little treatise on faith. Listen to what he says. This, anybody says, is a paragraph from that he says. If you want to say or hear something about God, brave free from your body, break free from your sense perceptions. Leave behind the Earth, leave behind the sea, rise above the air, fly past the hours of the day, the cycles of the seasons, move past the rhythms of the earth. Climb above the ether, pass beyond the stars...

...and their marvels and their harmontmonious order, their immense size and the benefits they supply to all, their good arrangement, their splendor, their position, their motion, their constellations and oppositions. Once you have passed beyond all things in your thoughts, transcended the heaven and risen above it. Behold, behold the beauty there with your mind alone, the heavenly armies, the choirs of angels, the dignity of Arch Angels, the glorious of the dominions, the Pre Eminence of the thrones, the powers, the principalities, the authorities. Once you have flown past all these things, transcended the entire created order in your thoughts and raised your intellect far beyond these, contemplate the divine nature, permanent, immutable, inalterable, impassable, simple, incomposite, indivisible, unapproachable light, ineffable power, uncircumscribed, greatness, super eminent glory, desirable goodness, extraordinary beauty that ravishes the soul pierced by it, but that cannot be worthily expressed in speech. This is the God that you intend to believe in, this is the God that we trust him do ones. Trusting in a God like that is not done in a trivial way. Believing in him like that is a massive movement of the soul. You illumined, you newly illumine ones, your soul, sorry, illumined. Your minds have been lit up,...

...but not perfectly, not perfectly. You have more work to do, as do we who have been baptized many moons ago. The Christian life is a process of constant, deeper, deeper illumination, growing faith and those portions in our minds and in our hearts that have some darkness, and of these are the low side for the the eruption of doubts. If you want to conquer out in your life, bring more light in. Illumine your heart, illumine your mind, and progressively faith will replace doubt. Confidence in this God will become settled. This is the only way, I think, that we can actually obtain great value. Through doubt, I think this is the only way, and there is great value to be obtained through doubt. If we find ourselves like Thomas, not trust in God like we should, we should act like Thomas. Notice what Thomas did not do. He didn't run away because he was having doubts. Notice also what he did not do. Thomas did not abandon his friends who shared a common faith with him. He couldn't go with him hundred percent. He wasn't trusting his friends even like he should have, but he didn't leave them. Yes, he esteemed even the most course of all of our senses touch. Yes, he brought his faith down to that level. But notice, by struggling through doubt, by pushing through doubt, by praying through doubt, was just the thing to do. He became the first ever to call Christ God. Him, who was the last in...

...belief, set the model for every Christian from that time until now. By working through his doubt, he taught us to confess with him. My Lord and my God, Christ's blessing is upon all of you today, dear ones. He said to him, to Thomas, once Thomas had come to faith, blessed are those who have not seen Christ has risen to 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. Folding and the buildings.

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