The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 9 years ago

Learn the Parable from the Fig Tree

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Luke 13. Learn more about Patristic Nectar Publications.

Ancient Faith Radio and patristic nectar publications present the arena Sunday homilies and theological reflections with Father Josiah trenem. There are stages and prayer. The first is bodily prayer. This is where we start with prostrations. This is active prayer. The second stage is attentive prayer and the third stage is prayer of the feelings, the attention warming the heart and what was thought with attention becomes feeling inside the heart. Praying is what it means to be spiritual. You know, there's a lot of talk in our culture about being spiritual and spirituality, a lot of bashing of religion and exaltation of Spirituality. For us, to be spiritual means to be in communion with the Holy Spirit, to be inspired by him in prayer and in a life of fruit bearing to the glory of God and the good of men. It doesn't mean sitting in big Sir under a Red Wood Tree reading the Bug of a Ghida. That is not the definition of spiritual life. What you have just heard our sound bites from some of the lectures in a sixpart lecture series entitled the Prayer Rule. These lectures explore the discipline of classical Orthodox Christian personal prayer, examining the content and order of the prayer rule, giving special emphasis to the prayers of repentance, the rule of prostrations, the giving of thanks and the use of the Jesus prayer. patristic nectar publications invite you to download the first of these six 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 Josiah trenum with the Sunday homily, the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. I thank you, brothers and sisters, for your prayers this last twelve days, as I participated with representatives from our parish and our annual diocese and Paris life goneference. And then this last week, fifty four of us went on our annual summertine cap out that I have survived. It was a time of wonder and inspiration for us. We were in a majestic natural setting. We camped literally on the base of Mount Shasta, one of the three highest mountains in the lowest forty eight states over fourteen thousand feet tall and active volcano. We enjoyed many days of fellowship and prayer. I was deeply touched to listen to our young people chant the Orthros and the vespers every day, every morning, every evening. They know these services, they're in them. It was a time of adventure. Our young people pushed themselves very hard. Many of them did things they never had ever done nor ever thought they would do. More than once, one of our teens whispered in my ear father. How am I going to explain this to my parents? Some of the adventures were so extreme I'd put them under pastoral...

...interdict not to publish any photos or messages on the facebook until we returned, so I wouldn't receive any phone calls from the parents saying bring my children home now. We hiked to the top of Castle crags and look down from that granite perch threezero foot sheer drop. We hiked into the Shasta Caverns, some of the largest caves in the United States. We went to the Shasta Damn. We participated in all sorts of competitions in sports, a famous scavenger hunt. Thank God Mount Shasta is Presi Creta's hometown and the chief of police happened to be a colleague of hers. She graduated in the same high school class, so we were safe. She saw him actually on one occasion she went into the the police station to ask him about an adventure that I was taking the kids on. We we were jumping into Lake Siscue, the local lake. They had built a brand new bridge and when we went there we saw locals jumping off the bridge into the water twenty five or thirty feet and we all thought that would be a really nice thing to do. So we did it. We did it. We spent parts of two days jumping off that bridge, including a collaborative group jump where we all lined up on the bridge and jumped. So she asked the chief of police, is that legal, and he said no, it's illegal, but have a nice time. Besides...

...adventures, it was also a time of sacred pilgrimage and our young people were able to stay at St Seraphim Church in Santa Rosa, which is the parish of Father Lawrence Marghettich, who was our our St Andrew Day speaker. Last St Andrew Day. He opened graciously, opened his parish for hospitality and he put up fifty four of us in his hall on the way up and fifty four of us on the way down. We got to pray and make confession. All of us confessed and prayed the vesper service in his beautiful church, the Church that perhaps has the most beautiful iconography of any church in the United States. We made pilgrimage on the last day to the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Mary, where the shrine of St John, the wonder worker of Shanghai and San Francisco, is and we were all able to participate in a liturgy and have a half hour with the Dean, who told us about the history of that magnificent parish and especially the life of St John. What can I say, brothers and sister? It was exhausting, but in a great way, in a beautiful way. The theme of our camp out was this. Learn the parable from the FIG tree. He comes from Luke, chapter thirteen. Learn the parable from the FIG tree. It's emblazoned on the shirts of our campers. The parable of the FIG tree was one of our Savior's dramatic, parabolic teachings. He found a tree that looked in season and ready to bear fruit. It had leaves and when he went to it and he searched for the fruit, he found nothing, and he did something quite shocking. He cursed it and it withered before the eyes of his disciples and he taught...

...them a lesson. He taught them the importance of being rooted and connected to the living God and bringing forth fruits, good deeds that you heard about in the readings today. He taught us, in fact, that we will all be accountable for bearing forth good fruits. That fig tree was an image of the unbelieving Jews of his time, the majority of whom did not accept the Messiah he whom they claimed to have been awaiting for so long. When he did arrive, they did not open their hearts or turned their ways to face him. They looked like God's tree, they had the branches like good God's tree, but they were fruitless, and the result was that they were given a rid of divorce and the Kingdom of God, in Jesus's word, was taken away from them and given to a nation bearing the fruit of it, a fruit bearing nation, a nation that would accept the Lord God and live for him. This theme we addressed. Myself and Jason Cobrubius are retreat master, we addressed these themes in daily reflections in the morning and the evening, talking about fruit bearing and about fruitlessness, talking about the certainty of judgment for Barrenness, the miracle of being ingrafted as a branch into the living tree which is Christ the necessity of acquiring grace, seeking an increase of the Holy Spirit, trying to see the light of God and to possess the divine, uncreated energies of God so that we could have power. You heard this if you were here for Orthros this morning, when Jesus told his disciples at the time...

...of his ascension that they should wait into in Jerusalem until they were clothed with power from on high. The Christian life is of about power, about grace, about acquiring the Holy Spirit. It's a life not of empty moralism, not of just external conformity to certain commandments. That is what the FIG tree had an exterior appearance of being God's tree. It had the leaves, but the only way of true fruits come is when grace comes into us, when we actually make a living connection with God and his energy. His light passes from himself to us, just like the heat of the sun, the rays of the sun hit plants and, by the miracle of photosynthesis, give life. This is what happens to us, the Christian if we abide in Christ and he abides in us, we will bear much fruit. Our Savior say this concept of fruit bearing union and the danger of fruitlessness, the danger of being merely morally conformed from the outside and having the inside corrupt. This is a common prophetic theme in scripture, this idea of empty hypocrisy making someone worthless. Jeremiah, the Prophet mentions this quite a bit. If you had a concordance at home and you looked up the word worthless, you would find many references in the prophets to this. We're reading right now. In our reading through the year in the Jeremiah the prophet, we're about to come upon a profound chapter, chapter thirteen. It's called the waistband of Jeremiah. Yes, it's true. The waistband of Jeremiah is what that chapters dedicated to, because...

...the Lord God came to him and he said, Jeremiah, I want you to go buy a new Waistban, a new loincloth, underwear, and I want you to take that cloth, which will cling to your waist. I want you to wear it, but then, after some time, I want you to take it and I want you to put it in a river and leave it there until I tell you, which is what he did. The Prophet took his new waistband, he put it in the river and then, when God told him now go get it, he went to get it, and you can imagine what condition it was in. It was worthless, good for nothing, and it no longer served his purpose because when he pulled them up, they went down. That's what happens. To warn out ELASTI. But the image, brothers and sisters, is that just as that waistband no longer clung to the hips of the Prophet Jeremiah, so the people of Israel no longer clung to the Lord, their God. They had grown dissatisfied with the great and majestic God of all things, and his wonders and his gifts no longer delighted them. They only found delight in the ways of the nation, and they had become, for that reason, worthless. This image, so common in the prophets, about the necessity of fruit bearing, of remaining in a position of clinging to the Lord God, and the danger of becoming fruitless or baron. This is all over in the scriptures. You have Jeremiah's waist band. You also have the forerunners acts. Remember his teaching at the Jordan River, when he saw this, said you sees, and the Pharisees...

...coming to him. Remember what he said to them? It says in the scriptures they were coming for baptism, but they weren't coming for baptism from the inside. It wasn't a movement seeking grace and repentance. It was a movement of external conformity and as such it was worthless. And so John turned his sight on them and he said, you brute of Vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come. The acts is already laid at the root of the tree. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down them and thrown into the fire. Bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance. And don't think you can say to yourselves we have Abraham for our father, for God is able from stones, or maybe these of the gentiles ours from stones to raise up children to Abraham Jeremiah's way. Spend the forerunners acts. It's the same thing our life. Brothers, and sisters, is a life of union with God. This is what we seek every time we're praying at a home. What we're trying to do is make a connection to the living God, to be one with him and to him have him be one with us. We seek grace, we seek the Holy Spirit, we seek his power from the inside, his uncreated divine energy, his light, and it's why you're here in the liturgy. It's why you're listening to the Gospel, to the Epistle, you're chanting the Psalms, you're preparing for reception of Holy Communion. You're repenting of your sins now because you're yearning for a union with the Holy Trinity. You desire the Holy Spirit and you want to see the light that shone out of Christ on the top of Mount Tabor, so that when you chant at the end of communion, we have seen the true light. We have now possessed the heavenly spirit. We have found the true faith. We want that. That's our life. From that comes conformity...

...to the law. We have a lawful life. We love the Lord's ways, we keep his words from the inside out. You understand what I'm saying not just from the outside. The readings today that you heard for this feast of the holy fathers of the first six ecumenical councils. They came from St Paul's Epistle to Titus, chapter three and from the sermon on the mound, Chapter Five of Saint Matthew's Gospel. Both of those readings, appointed to honor thematically the fathers of the first six ecumenical councils, who are such fruit bearing Christians, have as there as the center theme, the importance of of what I'm telling you, the importance of fruit bearing in Titus, St Paul says. This is a trustworthy statement and concerning these things, I want you, Titus, the Bishop of Crete, to speak confidently so that those who have believed in God may be careful to engage in good deeds, because these things are good and profitable for men, but shun foolish controversies, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Here it again, fruitfulness and good deeds or worthless. Those who are about focusing on bearing fruit for God and those who like to play religion and get into all sorts of fights about this foolish controversy or that. Let our people learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs so that they might not be unfruitful. Here. The Apostolic Mind, it's the same as the prophets, it's the same as Jeremiah's, the same as the forerunners. Paul has the same met mine and our Savior most beautifully, you are the salt of the earth. You know these days is sometimes very hard to connect scripture to us, especially because we have electricity, really hard to...

...convey how profound that teaching is about being the salt of the earth. We have refrigerator, so we don't salt meat, we don't try to preserve it this way. But his listeners new with salt you have preservation. Without Salt you have wrought decay and worthlessness. And our Savior is saying we're the salt of the whole world. Believers are we may seem insignificant, like Salt, and even cheap, but our effect is profound. He says, if the salt becomes tasteless, it's good for nothing except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. Do you hear the same thing once again? Fruitful, effective or fruitless and worthless? You Are the light of the world. Nobody lights a light a lamp and covers it, but puts it on a lambstand so it gives light to the whole house. This is, in fact, what the fathers of the six secumenical councils were holding up, the light of God, bearing forth the good fruits of a holy confession so that others themselves might find the truth, and throwing out the heretics from the church, those worthless salt that had become tasteless, whose teachings separated men from God. Let your light shine before men so that they may see your good works and glorify your father, who is in heaven, fruit bearing, like the holy fathers, like set Vladimir, the grand prince of Kiev, equal of the apostles. So we also commemorate today, brothers and sisters, seek this, seek this. Insist to yourself on the same thing that St Paul Asks St Titus...

...to insist on. Can you imagine? It says, though our bishop would be saying to me his friest other, Josiah, insist that are people engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, lest they be unfruitful. Insist yourself, insist that when you pray, you do it for the Rye reason, in order to make a union, a connection with the Living God, to get his grace, to acquire in greater measure the Holy Spirit, so that you can then, from the inside out, function assault and light, effectively preserving a culture that is in the midst of decay and Rot. God grant us to be like this, proud bearing so that people will see our good deeds and will give glory to his precious name, father, son and Holy Spirit. Public. 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. Until next time,.

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