The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 9 years ago

Keep Your Gaze Heavenward

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Ancient faith. Radio and patristic nectar publications present the arena Sunday homilies and theological reflections with Father Josiah Treno. We experience this continual dying with the confidente faith that he who ray of Jesus is also going to raise us. Our Future is not ultimately death, but resurrection. The seed has to fall into the ground in order to sprout. We can't be raised if we aren't buried. Remember that the first few days are exceedingly important for praying for the departed. This is our contribution to assist them through this tremendous transition. When someone who we love crosses the bridge to the next life, immediately the bridge that they croft if torched. There's no going back and forth on it and there's no US following them or them coming back, and we're left with many questions, and this class is designed to look at the mystery of death and answer some of those questions. What you have just heard our sound bites from some of the lectures in a seven part lecture series entitled a Christian ending to our lives. patristic nectar publications invites you to download the first of these seven lectures here at ancient faith radio. For more information and the remaining lectures, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org. And now here's father luke heart time with the Sunday homily in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. This morning, beloved of God, the Holy Evangelist Luke describes a most profound event to us, an ...

...incident which took place within a synagogue where our Lord Jesus Christ had gone to teach on a Sabbath, on a Saturday, and amidst the throngs of people who are in it the synagogue, was a woman who, as we are told, for eighteen years had been afflicted by a spirit of infirmity, but Nevma asked Anne us, and who had for all that time been unable to completely lift herself up. She was literally crippled over, bent with face to the ground. Beloved, amidst all of God's vast and magnificent creation, only man, only man was created to stand upright. Only man was given by God an upright stature. Look at the animals that creep about on all fours, but it is not so with that which God created in his own image and his own likeness. Man alone received an especial fashioning by God, making him distinct from the animals. You know why God created us this way? I'd like to read to you from that most profound and eloquent second century Christian writing, the epistle to diognitos. For God has loved mankind, on whose...

...account he made the world, to to whom he rendered subject all the things that are in it, to whom he gave reason and understanding, to whom alone he imparted the privilege of looking upwards to himself, whom he formed after his own image, to Whom He sent his only begotten Son, to whom he has promised a kingdom in heaven and will give it to those who have loved him, to whom alone he imparted the privilege of looking upward to himself. Do you understand, amongst all of creation, only man is given, by his very nature, the God given gift of uprightness, and only man is able to gaze at all times with his eyes to those things on high, to gaze upwards towards God and to the Heavenly Kingdom. Only man. So, when we hear the evangelist Luke tell us that this poor woman was bent over and could not even fully straighten herself. We are to understand that she was not just a little bit infirm, not just a little bit infirm, she was severely afflicted. Brothers and sisters, for eighteen years, can you imagine she had been unable to straighten her back, to lift her head and to look up towards the heavens as we do so easily each day? Can you imagine how it might be to spend all of your days with your face like this, in the dirt, walking like that? But having seen...

...her from afar, we are told, the Lord called out to her and said, woman, you are loosed from your infirmity, and he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was set straight again and glorified God. Now, did Jesus work this wonderful miracle at the request or because of this woman's faith? Obviously she was a faithful woman, was she not? For even amidst this great infirmity, there she was in the midst of the congregation on the Sabbath, worshiping God. Her illness and pain was not enough to keep her from coming before the presence of and worshiping God. She was a faithful woman. However, her infirmity prevented her from even seeing Christ's face. So not only was she healed by the Lord without being asked, she didn't ask to be healed, but she was not even near him right she did not even approach him. He called out to her woman, he said, from afar. Just as a shepherd who sees one of his sheep caught among the thorns and makes the first move, so the compassionate Lord Jesus, our Good Shepherd, made the first move to his little sheep, caught in Satan's toils. She had been bound by Satan. But now, having seen this great miracle of light, we now behold a spectacle of great darkness, for the Ruler of the synagogue, full of jealousy, full of envy and hatred,...

...says to the crowd of people, there are six days on which one ought on which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, but not on the Sabbath. He makes the false pretense of being indignant because Jesus healed on the Sabbath, but it was his heart, which was full of envy, full of jealousy, that he had been overshadowed by the presence of Christ, that his position suddenly became lower. These are the words of a wicked son of darkness, it says, though. Satan, having left the woman, had now entered into him. He dared not rebew Christ, and so instead he turns and rebukes the people. But how were the people guilty of this? If anyone was at fault for this good work, it was the straightened woman, was it not? But how could she be guilty? She did not run after Jesus begging to be healed. So then, if anyone was guilty, that person was Christ. But he, the ruler of the synagogue, would not dare to look Christ in the eye and say you are guilty. Instead, he turns his poison on the people and he rebukes them. Is there any hypocrisy more obvious and more vile than this? But listen to our Lord's reply. Very strong word hypocrite, he says. Doth not each of you, on the Sabbath, loose his ox...

...or ass from the manger and lead it away to give it drink? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan bound low eighteen years, be loose from this bond on the day of the Sabbath. Brighter than the sun, is our savior more pure than crystal? He is incapable of hypocrisy. He cannot pretend to be stupid and keep silent when someone else is rebuked in his place. Hypocrite he calls them. Can we dare to help cattle on the Sabbath, but not men? The OX and the ASS are not left a single day without being released from their stalls and let out of the darkness into sunlight for fresh air. While this woman has spent eighteen years bound by Satan's curse and you are angry at her release, Satan indeed bound you no less than her. He bound her head to her knees, while he has bound your soul with self love, with envy and with jealousy. You see the terrible and vicious repercussions of sin. Brothers and sisters, the opposite of Man, who stands always upright and whose gaze is naturally towards those things on high, is the disposition of the serpent. Do you remember God's words to Satan in the Garden of Eden? He had entered the serpent. He didn't become the serpent Satan had empty entered the serpent, and God said to him, because you have done this thing, because you have...

...deceived eve, you are cursed, more than all the cattle, more than every beast of the field, and on your belly you shall go and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. Do you understand what God did? He wasn't cursing serpents or snakes, or just that serpent in particular. They are his creation. He was cursing Satan, who had entered the serpent. I curse you now cry, says, worse off than every creature, even the most despised on earth. You shall be, Satan, and upon your belly you shall go eating dirt and eating filth, the filth of sin, the foulness of the passions, all the days of your life. Filth is now your food. That's what God was telling Satan. Filth is now your food. He loved you know, something terrible happens when the devil enters, when he attaches himself to a sinful person, when he takes he literally takes pleasure in and rejoice in, rejoices in the sinful person sin. Why? Because the devil doesn't have a body to wallow in the filth of sin with so instead, he literally feeds on evil through man. Are you a glutton? Are you an addict, a fornicator? Maybe, like the ruler of the synagogue, you are let about by the passion of envy,...

...a slave to your own self love. The devil rejoices because, without a body of his own, he is only able to enjoy the filthy pleasure of sin upon entering the body of a sinful man and wallowing in the filth with him. He literally uses the sinner's body as a means to experience the passions as that sinful person is experiencing passions. You hear what I'm saying? I'm talking about something which should be completely revolting to you. This should be completely disgusting to you. It's horrible. Should really make each of us stop and think. Beloved. Again and again, the Holy Scriptures remind us to keep our minds towards those things on high and not on the things here below. Think with me of Saint Paul's words and Colossians three. If, then, you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. God, set your mind to the things above, not the things of the earth, for you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When our mind is always here on the things of this earth, we have a soul which has become just as sick as today's woman who was bound by the spirit of infirmity. Our soul becomes cripple. Our very soul is sick with a deadly infirmity. And what...

...are those things on the Earth which cripple us? St Paul Continues in Colossians three five, therefore, he says put to death or mortified your members which are on the earth. And then, so as not to be misunderstood, he's very specific. Put to death these things for Nication, uncleanness, passion, every evil desire, covetousness, which is idolatry. And further on, he says anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience and which you yourself once walked when you lived in them, but not anymore. Beloved. Let us put far from ourselves such things as these. Let us strive earnestly to reject sin and it's passionate pleasures, by means of which the enemy leads us very, very far from God. When our minds seek those things which are above where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, then we have a soul not like the woman with a spirit of infirmity. Then we have a soul which is moving heavenward. We Are Upright, we are straights, Philippians twelve. One thing I do, says the Apostle Paul, forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward. God has called US heavenward. Brothers and sisters in Christ...

Jesus. Are we crippled? Are we bent earthward by our sins and passions? Our holy mother, the church, has given US forty days of fasting, forty days before the great advent of the Messiah, our Savior, Jesus Christ, forty days in which to be healed and to spiritually prepare ourselves for his coming. How? By preparing our hearts, by preparing our souls, by preparing our minds to receive him, the pre eternal God who, for our Sake, is born a new born bay to him the all glory, Dominion, honor, worship and majesty. Now and ever and under the ages of ages, we hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offer to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing this spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. Until next time,.

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