The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 3 months ago

Innumerable Miracles | Saint John the Theologian


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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Now available at patristic nectar,Doorg patristic, nectar, publications ispleased to present a four part lecture series. My father desyatin entitledGod's Prodigal 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 Josiah Trene, the name of the father and of the sonand of the Holy Spirit a blessed Lord's Day to all of you, brothers and sisters.I hope you have a quiet and soft heart this morning to hear the Gospel and amagnificent epistles on, and perhaps a few words from your old priest in the sermon. I have entitled my Homily InnumerableMiracles by listening to the chanter chant theTroparia to Saint John, the apostle, especially because in that Troparion weprayed to him and ask him to assist us in dissipating the persistent cloud ofthe heathen. I thought of preaching on thepersistent cloud of the heathen,...

...because we have a persistent cloud andthe apostles are greater than any heathenish clouds and can help us dissipate it, but no matter I've learned to contain myself innumerable miracles. If you listen tothe Gospel Text, you heard these beautiful words. There are many otherthings that Jesus did, which, if every one of them was to bewritten, the world itself could not contain thebooks that would be written. Can you imagine what what a tease SaintJohn is to write that, at the very end of his Gospel, a gospel of such wondersof such high theology, that our heads have been spinning and the heads ofChristians have been spinning for twenty centuries and then he's going tosay that I'm stopping here. But if we wrote down everything that Jesus didthe entire world couldn't contain the books? Can you imagine what it's kindof state that is the world's a big place can want a lotof book shelves, but not enough to document theinnumerable miracles that simply poured out of our saviour as a torrent, and that's just talking about Jesus'smiracles that he did in his earthly ministry. What about all the miraclesthat he did through the apostles, a tiny fraction of which we know and through the early Church andthrough his people, down to this very day? What about those we would need? Iguess several parallel universes to put the bookshelves of the miracles andproper order. Even a casual observation of ourSavior's erthly ministry sees that he was an unstoppable miracle worker,raising the dead, casting out demons healing the blind and the lame touchingthe lepers and making them whole all of...

...the sick, walking on the water calmingthe storms, multiplying the loaves withering, the fig tree and on and onand on, of course, as great of all. Those miracles were and is incredibleimpact they had on people whose hearts were open to him. The greatest of all miracles was Jesushimself. He, who was more than a man the fan tropos in the flesh, God become man walking in our midst. His death and resurrection from thedead, together with his incarnation, are the greatest miracles that anyhuman eye has ever witnessed. Every any human heart ever believed when the Lord ascended to heaven he didn't cease doing miracles. In fact,he said something extremely shocking to his twelve. He told them that theywould do greater miracles than he did I'm going away, but you will do greaterworks than these. What a shocking statement when he ascended his miraculous works,increased and multiplied as the apostles dispersed throughout the world.This is why Saint Paul writes to the Corinthians, and he says this. Thesigns of a true apostle were performed among you with allperseverance by signs and wonders and miracles and pause minds that constant miracles,science and wonders simply was the proof that someone was really anapostle really was chosen to be an apostle byChrist and of all of those apostles. Perhaps Saint John's life, because itwas the longest, was most filled with the mostoutrageous miracles wonders and signs...

Saint John out laughed at all of theapostles he died in past the age of one hundred Saint Paul's life was cut short by marted by beheading in Rome. SaintPeter's life was cut short by crucifixion upside down in Rome, butnot saint. John Saint John continued to work incredible signs until his lastbreath, as not as a Sentina, his own personal transformation from someonewho, when he was a young disciple, just a junior in life. He was ambitious and not in good ways.Sometimes he wanted to be first amongst the apostles. He had great zeal. Christ called him ason of thunder, but sometimes his zeal was misguidedand it wasn't resting on a bed of the love of God and being held by him inhumility. So, one time when a village didn't receive Christ correctly, he thought it would be appropriate topray and ask that fire would come down from heaven and consume them all likehe was another Prophet Alliance, and Jesus said you don't know what kind ofspirit you're talking about. I didn't come here to destroy men's lives. Icame here to save men's lives, John, who was so zealous. He himself is a miracle, his own personal transformation, into aZelt from a zealot into the father of love, the great paternal force in theChurch for fifty years before he died. You Know The Gospel of Matthew Uses theWord Love Eleven Times. The Gospel of Mark Uses the love justfive times uses the word. Love Luke...

Uses it Twelve Times the gospel of John Uses. The word lovein twenty one chapters. Thirty times and in his first epistle that smalllittle letter it only has a hundred and fine verses. He uses the word, lovethirty six times, every three verses. This is what he became. This is themiracle of his own personal transformation. In following Christ, hebecame the living apologetic. This is why, forthe Gospel, this is why he won so many people to the faith. Christ meant something other thanideology for him. His whole life was turned upside down and he becamesummoned if he read the closely his rule in the acts of the apostles in theearly chapters. When he came to Samaria that place authentic Jews despised, he went there and he called down notfire from heaven, but the Holy Spirit that another pentecost for those people, and this is what he did throughout therest of his life, the innumerable miracles that Christdoes and continues to do through the church but did especially in theapostles, was also manifest in Saint John's ministry and Asia Minor. Youknow when the apostles gathered together to draw lots to see who would go towhat part of the World John's lot sent him to Asia minor to what is now mostly Turkey. He went and spent a lot of time in oneof the most important cities in the Roman Empire. The city of Ephesus Ephesus was support city, a massivetrading center and the center of the Great Pagati cult of Artemis or asshe's, otherwise known Diana. In fact, her temple there in EPHESUSM was one ofthe seven ancient great wonders of the... and when Saint John went guess what hedid, he went right for it. He went right in to confront the priest.He stood on the hill above the temple and preached day and night. I wonder ifhe would have been told to stay out of politics. I wonderyou know it wasn't so clear in the Roman world, religion and politics werecompletely wrapped up together, they didn't have the separation of churchand state. John was not interested. He wasinterested in one thing and that was winning the hearts of the people to Christ. He performed so many miracles. He wonso many people in emphasis that he even came to the attention notonly of the governor. In fact he raised from the dead, the son of the governorof that province. His son had died a terrible terrible way, and thenhe had a heart attack upon learning of his son's death. So he raised thegovernor first and his son. This was Saint John. The EmperorDomitian got word of John and John Perform had performed so manymiracles and on so many people that Domitian concluded that John was a Demi God on the earthand a nasty one at that and a dangerous one, nothing that he tried to do tokill John Work. He tried numerous means of destroyinghim put him in boiling oil. He came outlike he had taken a marvellous bath. So, finally, the emperor exiled him tothe island of Patmos but exiling him to Patmos was just a prelude for thegreatest miracles of John's life when...

...he wrote his Gospel there under theinspiration of the holy spirit and then had his apocalyptic visions. What wouldbecome the last book of the New Testament, the revelation he outlived the emperor to Mation into the reign of Emperor Tradin andthen went back to ephesus and then with his timing, the timing that Godhad promised him he died. He had his disciples digga grave in the soften, the form ofa cross he climbed into the grave he had thedirt be brought up to his waist while preaching then up to his shoulders.Then he breathed his last and they covered his face. This is how SaintJohn Died. Never has the world seeing miracle workers like the Holy Apostles, but even brothers and sisters after theApostolic Age in number. Innumerable miracles remains our way of lot. Ifthis is the church life, this is the Christian life we are experiencing and everyone wholives their life and the church experiences the living miracle of unionbetween God and men. Right here, this place is full of penitentbelievers, whose lives bear witness to the miracle of grace, led by bishops and priests who pray andserve mysteries that are themselves impenetrable, mysteries and miraclesthat Nourish a union of the Lord God, together with his people. Here you hear the word of God and youlet it have its way, the sacraments and the word of God inyour own life or miracles, and they do things to that can only be explained bythe presence of God in your life. We have saints on our walls, who areeven called Fama tragi workers of wonder some saints continuethat Apostolic Disposition. We have one... San Francisco, Saint John Sanitoria, Saint Bishos, are all recentsaints and they were known for miracles just pouring out of their lives. I lovetelling the story of Saint John to get acumen. I love it. I almost used to do it as arule. Usually I'm talking to Catacolae I'm. In my I mean my last meeting withinquire, an inquirer, a couple. In fact this happens several times this week.You'll see them in five minutes. I was at the end of a conversation and Ialways asked them the same questions. Do you know that this is a lifetimedecision? There's no going back once yourorthodox? Will the Orthodox the rest of your life, whatever you may live,you'll go to the local Orthodox Church? Yes, they say no, they don't becomecacumen, yet they need a little more time and then I asked them a secondquestion which is: Do you have any religious association?Is there anyone who has you on their membership list? You know. Are youregistered in a Buddhist temple? Are you part of a Protestant Church? Is theresome pastor who is still thinking, even though you're doing this, that you'rehis? Because we have to clear that up in case something should take place inyour life, some tragedies and you should lose your life during catechism.In that case, the Church would vary. You we've had that happened twice bythe way in our history. Sadly, two of our catechumens, whounexpectedly passed away, and then I tell them the story of one of them, thelate Adam Diaz, who was on his way to see Saint John of San Francisco, the great wonder worker. This is theentree that I have and then I tell them the story of Saint John of all, themiracles that he that he performed in...

Shanghai in the Philippines in WesternEurope when he was the bishop of that area and then, when he came to SanFrancisco, I tell them that the number of miraclesthat he performed increased after he reposed in the Lord One thousand ninehundred and sixty six on July. The second F F, one thousand nine hundred andsixty six until S, nine hundred and ninety four, the number of miraclesjust exponentially increased, so much so that when I became a priest on Huand,nine hundred and ninety three, a d just a year before he was Porifera a saint.I had already heard tons about his life in one thousand, nine hundred andninety four, the church glorified him as a saint and they shut down fiveblocks of San Francisco and carried him on on their shoulders and when he waswhen he was first exhumed, he was. He had been buried in the crypt underneaththe Cathedral in San Francisco, with a Beautiful Chapel CRIPP, and when hiscoffin was opened, it was all a tatters in a mess because it had been oxidizedfor those twenty eight years. His vestments were also in pieces and his body was perfect. No one bumming, no, nothing but Neves ents and love anda cloth to wipe him. This is US brothers and sisters. Thisis the life of the church, the life of the Church and we believers who live inthe church is a life of innumerable and perpetual miracles. This is how we live, not just shockingmiracles, like our wonder, workers do, but the miracle of to come to everyonewho prays ask, can you receive seek and you findknock and the door will be open to you. Prayer is a constant miracle in anexchange between us and God. Just this week, I heard this is one of the great thingsabout being a priest. Of course, as you...

...get to hear all the cool stories peopleget to tell you things which is wonderful. It makes up for all the less one talkabout that all the other stuff, but this year this week, saint fineriesdid another miracle for someone and he just never stops he never stouts. Iheard another miracle about some travelers who and how close God was tothem, because they were in a very frightful situation in a foreigncountry and they felt God so close as we all dowhen we're in fragile situations- and we have to depend upon him by prayerzealously, then he shows us how near he is and works. Numerous wonders for us. This is one of the reasons that I'veloved to go on pilgrimage. My whole Orthodox life, I've loved to go places that I wasn'tcertain about. I didn't know the way many times in the twenty or so yearsthat I traveled to the old country with my spiritual father on principle. Weusually had no plan at all. We had the saints we wanted to see, but we didn'tknow where we were going to stay or with home exactly how we were going toget from point a to point B. It was a principle that we learned from makingfrom the first time, just not doing it and then finding out how close God wasto us and how incredible it was to be guided by his providence in avulnerable circumstance like that them were like why in the world will we planeverything his plan is so much better. We live in a sea of God's wonders, and the most important of all brothersand sisters is not the miracle of that. I might callphysical Stut the healings as wonderful as those are. It's not the t tangible things from theoutside. It's the miracles of the soul.

You know this distinction between themiracles of the body and the miracles of the soul is something that's made bythe fathers one of the Great Metropolitans of the twentieth century,Metropoltan Agustinos Cantiones from flora, nine, Greece, who was just a stalwart defender ofPole, Orthodoxy in the Twentieth Century, threw horrible times in Greece,under the Nazis and through World War, two and others. He wrote an entire bookon Miracles and in this opening chapter he makes this distinction betweenmiracles of the body and miracles of the soul, and he caught the fathers toexplain that the greatest miracles are those that are miracles to take placein your own mind and heart. The miracle, for instance, quotingSaint John Crysostum, the miracle of deliverance from slavery to a partition,particular passion. Chris ystems says that to uproot a passion from yourheart is a greater miracle than uprooting a demon and casting it out. Just imagine the impact on seeing all the demon screechon people when they, when the Lord was doing so many exorcisms Chris Systemsays it may be impressive to people, but it's not impressive as impressiveto the Lord as uprooting passions from our hearts. The presence of the Holy Spirit in ourlife is constantly working this the birth of a new virtue in us, especiallythe acquisition of more love, which is the greatest game changer in our lives. This is a resurrection. The establishment of a marriage, twopeople who have different personalities, different interests, each who have particular weaknesses andsins able to live together in peace, to grow, to love one another, not justtolerate each other, but truly love each other one on one another. Thisdear ones, is the miracle of the...

...propagation of the church. Chrysostomsays that is creating a domestic church and making your marriage the theresidence of the Holy Trinity. This is a miracle and it's a practicalmiracle that wins people. You know one of the reasons that wehave so many dark catacombes in this church is because you're struggling to love your spouses, yes, you're, struggling to be faithful toyour friends, you're, seeking the miracle of morelove every day. Believe me. If people came here- andthey saw us not trying to do that if they came here and what they saw wasbickering and fighting and trying to become first or always wantingaccolades. You know it means something when you come in this church and youdon't see plaques all over saying given by so, and so excuse me, while I puke, I know you wouldn't even I'm literallyI've never even had one, and you ever ask me for that. I never even had tosay to you. No never ve been raised. Thank God forthat, and it's not just our marriages. It'snot just our widows. It's not just our young people struggling to love God,it's not just the friendships that were crafting. You know. Some of the greatest miraclesof this church has been the call of our our young people to become monks andnuns. Saint Theodore. I kissed him thismorning he's the second one. Saint John Damascus is on the pillar right thereand then say the fan, the reckless and then Saint Theodore of studium. You seehim. He was one of the greatest monks of the ninth century. His monastery inConstantinople, the walls of his monastery, are still there.

The Turks have these massive gatesaround them. You can't, unfortunately, go into the monastery grounds, but hehad he was the spiritual father of hundreds and hundreds of Mont monks,and this monastery was called. The studium was an incredible theologian and agreat defender of the holy icons and a great zealot, listen to what he saysabout miracles. He says. Perhaps one thing he says: Perhaps one thing is marvellous: Being holy and havingmiraculous powers that expel demons that cure the blind that cleanse lepersthat raise the dead that affect nature, that move mountains that turn the seasinto land or do things like these? Certainly those are great miracles inthese are marvellous wonders. I, however, do not think that this is as miraculousas is this, that people from different places andlands, different races, languages and ages come together in the name of our LordJesus Christ and become united and joined as one multi sold multi hearted body with onemind and one heart not to do evil, but to do the will of God to venerate and worship the holyTrinity, which no one no ruler nor authority. No King, not even thechampion of the demons himself, has the power and the strength to overcome. This is what he thought was the greatmiracle. He says the monastery in which there isno. This is mine, and this is yours is...

...never heard in the monastery. It isnever heard this language. The monastery is one of the greatestmiracles of divine grace. It defeats the selfishness and the self interestof men. You know we've seen a lot of miracleshere, so one was sharing with me, a healingthey received when the skull of Saint Luke. The physician came here from theUkraine, but a little over two years about twoyears ago. I guess now and of course, lots of you hadwonderful things happen when we had that ever on, my Moni icon of Our lady from Hawaii come here, and she justwept her eyes out here in our midst. We we've seen a lot of beautiful thingsfor sure, but don't miss dear ones, the greater miracles that are all aroundyou don't miss what the fathers consider.The even mightier wonders this ocean in which we live. You know Iwas reading a marvelous article this week it comes from a collection of C S,Lewis's lectures, it's called God in the dock and it's a chapter on miracles and he poses the question. Why is itthat it appears in the West that miracles appear to have declinedso rapidly, and he points out the obvious that, with the increase ofmaterialism with a functional world view in which the unseen world isn'tacknowledged as even real by many people, it puts certain lenses intoyour mind that you have to use whether you know it or not to interpret reality,and he mentions a funny circumstance in his own life. He said in all his life.He only met one person who ever saw a...

...ghost and it was a lady friend of his and shehad this incredible vision of a ghost in her house and she described it tohim. How this ghost appeared. I mean noquestion, there's the ghost he said. That's the only woman he'sever known who any person only person he's ever known, who saw a ghost andthen she told him, but I don't believe it existed, because I know that gotdon't exist. She was a materialist. She was a materialist and for thisreason, even though she had this incredible experience right therebefore her eyes, she reinterpreted the entire thing.According to her bogus world view, why do you think that Emperor Domitian could be in front ofSaint John? Seeing all of these wonders and hearing all these testimonies andnot become a believer? The father say because in his mind, the idea that there was one God wasabsolutely fanatical and nuts. This man had to be wrong and couldn't be thisgodly miracle worker, because he was preaching something totally false andhe had a bad heart to and he didn't want to live the way. This San John wasasking him to live. The combination of that bad thought and that bad heartkept him from being able to believe. Why did the JEWS SURROUNDING OUR SAVOR?So many of the Jewish leaders surrounding our savior, seeing hismiracles? Not believe Jesus said very clearly, if you don't believe what I'm saying atleast believe the works that I'm doing, and they still wouldn't believe. He said you don't believe, because your children of the devil, you say your children of Abraham, ifyou're the childer of Abraham, do the deeds of Abraham Abraham never tried to stone me todeath like you're contemplating doing right now. Jesus was touching a part oftheir heart that they didn't want...

...touched. He was calling them to arevolution and living that they didn't want and the result was Jesus'smiracles made no impact upon them. Why do Atheus not see any miracles, becauseon principle they can't it would be the destruction of theirwhole fundamental presupposition of life C S, Lewis says the materialist can see the full panoply of theapocalypse and fulled both before his eyes. He can see the heavens rolled up.He can see the great white throne appear right in front of his eyes. Hecould even sense in his own body being picked up by the angels and hurled intothe lake of fire. He said, but even then, while burning he'll say to himself, this is all avery bad problem of my psychosis, and this is clearly evidence about cerebralpathology. They'll just deny that it exists. This is the poison of materialism. We know better, dear ones. We knowbetter. Let's give thanks to God for knowing the God of love. Who is agod of wonders? Let's say what the Samis Open my eyes, O Lord, that I might seewonderful things on. We hope that you have enjoyed and havebeen edified by this presentation offered to you by patristic nectar,publications, a non profit 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... at the www dot, patristicnectar, dot, Org, again, that's www dot, patristic nectar, Dodo, T T.

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