The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 5 months ago

Maccabean Zeal

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Now available at Patristic, neter donorpatristic nectar is pleased to offer a new nine part series entitled theMother of God in our lives. This offering is the fruit of a threeday conference, hosted by Patristic Nectar, publications, a collaborationof many clergy scholars, including the keynote speaker, His grace, bishopIrenee of London, as well as his Grace Bishop Basil of Wichita, Argaman, rite,maximus constance father, Callinice, Father, Chad, Hatfield and father JohnParker. The lectures are dedicated to anedifying examination of the great feasts of the Mother of God, as well asadditional lectures on particular aspects of the life of the most holyTheotocos, her role in the lives of Christianbelievers for these and other available titles.Please visit our website at patristic nectar, not worry, and now the arena with Father Josiah Trenta, in the name of the father and of theson, and of the Holy Spirit a blessed Lord's Day to all of you,brothers and sisters, I've entitled my homily this morning, maccabeans zeal, machabean zeal. You heard the teachingon zeal. I hope just now from the epistle lesson. It's Saint Paul's, most potent teachingon zeal in his Corpus from Romans Chapter Twelve, where Paul says that weshould be consumed over flowing with zeal, a glowin the spirit competing with one another on how much we can honor each other, what a magnificent text competing witheach other on giving the greater honor. No really you know after you, no afteryou, this is the disposition of theChristian heart. This is what is produced in us by the presence of thespirit of God. Inside of us. It just so happens dear one. That today is the first of August. We always bring the sacred cross out onthe first of August, but it rarely falls on Sunday. It's your blessing tobe here. Normally we bring the cross out to a small congregation, may be ona Tuesday or a Wednesday August. First, besides being theprocession of the Cross, bringing the cross out as our token ofvictory and in commemoration of the deliverance that God has given to usthrough the cross against all sorts of enemies, seen and unseen, not justagainst the devils, but also, as you heard, in the Synorix, the Muslims and against the Pagans, the Bulgars,when they were pagans and against the Bolsheviks. We mentioned these historical realitieswhen Earthly Kingdoms turned away from Godand began to persecute believers, we took refuge under theCross and the cross protected us and has saved us and will always save US August. First is also the commemoration of the Holy Maccabees. You may be wondering who the macabeesare. Some of you, I know, are good scripturescholars, and you know that in the Old Testament and the longer canon of theOld Testament, there are, in fact, in the Orthodox text, multiple bookscalled macabees, first macabees, second...

...maccabees third maccabees and fourmaccabees. In fact, in some in some canonical collections in theorthodox tradition, some of our bibles only have three. The West only had two first and second macabeesand the Protestants had the macabees in the bibles that they were formed andfashioned by the original Protestant ry formers, but had great concerns withsome aspects of them and so placed them in a separate section. They were alwaysin the Protestant bibles and they were even used in Protestantworship quotations from these texts, but in the late nineteenth century, forthe first time in the history of Christianity, and that since the Biblecame to be able to be published, a Bible was published without themacabees in it was published by the United Bible Society in the latenineteenth century and since that time, most Protestant bibles don't have theMacabees, and therefore a great loss has taken place in the lives of ourProtestant friends, because most of them don't know who the Mac of theseare. I hope. That's not you. I hope. That's, not you. The maccabees are a model for us, andespecially those that we commemorate to day are a mile for us of the zeal thatSaint Paul says the spirit births in us and that he as an apostle commands usto have these maccabees got their name, in factnot from their surname. Although they started with an incredible family that we now call the founder of thatFamily Judas Machabeus, the word macaby actually means Hammer Hammer, and we gave this title theMacabees to them, because they were a hammer of God against the Pagan Greeks.This is the second century B C. You might remember that for a hundred fiftyyears the Greeks says the time of AlexanderThe grake had conquered the Holy Land. Alexander was very tolerant. Actually, the Holy Land had been conquered manytimes, and the people of God had gone through many trials. First, theAssyrians, who conquered the northern ten tribes in the eighth century, thenthe Babylonians, who destroyed even the Temple of God in five eighty seven andtook captive people like the Prophet Daniel and his friends as Erius a riotand Messiah. Then, after the Babylonians, thePersians and after the Persians, the Greeks and then after the Greeks, the Romanswho were governing the holy land at the time of the incarnation of our Saviourwhen the Gospel became to life for us were just before the Roman period. Themacabees were living under the end of the Greek period and the Greek geminywas fracturing and like a lot of kingdoms when they start fracturing,they start losing their minds like we're, seeing in our own country,as the American Empire is fracturing, losing its interior consistency. Allsorts of strange authoritarian strains arising same thing happened in Greeceand that tolerance that they used to have for us and for our forbears beganto dissipate, and so under a wild person, a kingnamed anticus epiphanes. He gave that name to himself. It means God manifest. Our people gave him a nickname insteadof epiphanes. We call him epiphany epiphanes at Pipman's, which means Madman and tichus Madman, not Iti, and tie asgot in the flesh. He began to impose not just an exterior Greek rule which we were prospering under fairlyfine.

He began to impose Greek idolatry, the Greek culture, the pagan culture. He in fact shut down the worship of Godin the temple he forced people not to circumcisetheir children. Remember that'd be like asking us not to baptize our children. Circumcision was an old testament typeof baptism. He said that the law of God couldn't bekept all the food regulations for the Jewsof the Old Testament. He made them break in public or he punished themseverely. Finally, God Rose Judas maccabaeus upto be a deliverer for for his people. Judah stood against this onslaught andhe took to the hills and he stirred everyone up. He encouraged them to holdto the faith in times of hopelessness, he gave them confidence in God, herallied troops and he in fact drove off in a series of raids that heconducted his sons and their sons conducted over three generations. He protected the people of God and reinstituted, the worship of God and eventually made a treaty with Rome andwas able to break the power of Greece and their authority to hurt us. In fact, a Jewish feast was institutedto commemorate the overthrow of the Greek oppression and the relighting ofthe man Ora of the candle. It's called Hanukah. This is a Mac. Abean work, this freedom. They work theseincredible freedom fighters. Today we commemorate very special Macabees,the best of the best one woman, a mother named Solomine, her seven sons and their spiritualfather, their common spiritual father named Eliezar, listen to their account now these holy Macabees that we commemorateon August. First, these holy martyrs lived during the reign of the SyrianKing Antica, epiphanes of that cell sale, CI Diocese, one. Seventy five tohundred sixty four B C who, having reduced the Jewish nation to slavery,sought to constrain the children of Israel to renounce the customs and theinstitutions handed down by their fathers and to adopt the ways of thePagans. To this end, he decreed that every one must eat pork, an uncleananimal forbidden by the law. They tried first to compel the scribe eleazer toeat opening his mouth by force, but the holy old man spat out the mouthful withdisdain remaining deaf to those who counseled him to feign submission inorder to save his life. He replied this way at our age. It is not fitting tofake for fear that many young people seeingthat Eles are had at the age of ninety adopted foreign ways might do the same thing themselvesbecause of me and my dissimulation, and that for a brief span of life, I wouldthus bring on my old age, defilement and dishonor, and were I to escape thetemporal punishment of men. I would not living or dead escape the hands of theAlmighty. Having thus spoken, he went straight to offer himself for tortureon the wheel and under the torture. He showed the valor of a young warrior andhe called forth the admiration of his executioners at the point of his death he declaredwith a smile. It is manifest to the Lord Who HathHoly Knowledge that, whereas I might...

...have been delivered from death, I nowendure sore pains in the body by being beaten, but in soul am well content tosuffer these things, because I fear him. He gave his soul to God. Seven brothers, who had been taught byEliezar in the traditions of their people, were arrested and appearedbefore the king, like a harmonious choir, in the midst of which, as aconductor stood their mother. One thing alone was important to them that thechoir, with its sacred number, should not be torn apart by the defection ofone or other of them. They encourage one another in their confession. Withwords such as these, if we do not perish now, surely we will die one day. Let us makeof our necessity of nature a chance for honor the sovereign had the instruments oftorture spread out before them, and he tried to persuade them but refuting hisarguments with inspired philosophy. They replied to him through the Voiceof the first born quote. We are ready to die rather than to transgress thelaws of our fathers unquote and tichus beside himself, ordered thatthis insolent youth's tongue be cut out and then that his skin be torn and hislimbs cut off put to the torment of the wheel and then stretched on a grid iron.He declared cut off my limbs and burn my flesh dislocate my joints. Throughall these tortures. I will show you that the sons of the Hebrews areinvincible. Where virtue is concerned, transfigured by the fire, he appearedincorruptible and thus fulfilled his witness without giving the slightestGroan, while his mother and brothersencouraged by the sight prayed that God would grant them the grace of dyingwith valour, just as he had. The second of them was then put to torture. Theylacerated his flesh with nails and then stretched him on a catapult ready togive his soul to the Lord. He cried out in the Hebrew tongue. Thou like a fury.Take us us out of this present life, but the king of the world shall raiseus up who have died for his laws unto everlasting life. The third fearlessly stretched out hishands to the executioner, declaring that he was sure of finding his limbsin the future life. He succumbed to the torture of thewheel. The fourth called on the tyrant to findthe direst of tortures that he might show antichus that he was ready torival his brothers in courage and before his tongue was torn out. Hesaid, even if you deprive me of the organ of speech, God hears the Voice ofthe silent, how sweet it is to have one's limbssevered for God it is haste to carry off the trophies. In his turn, thefifth went voluntarily to the torturers. The next was made to suffer on thewheel and when they pierced his side, he cried out. The knowledge that wehave from piety is invincible. What a text! The knowledge that we have frompiety is invincible. These valiant athletes thus sacrificed their livesone after the other. Showing that reason, illumined by faith, cannot onlymaster the passions of the soul, but is able also to triumph over the tormentsof death, for it gives us the assurance of eternal life and in corruption their mother. So lemonia was present at the torture of her sonsand far from letting herself be overcome by grief. It was she whoexhorted each of them in the tongue of her fathers to endure the trial withcourage in the name of the Lord and their hope of Resurrection. She saidthis to them. I cannot tell how you caught came into my womb, for I neithergave you breath nor life. Neither was I...

...the one who formed the members of everyone of you, but doubtless the creator of the world who formed the generationof men and found out the beginnings of all things, will also of his own mercy.Give you breath and life again as ye now regard, not your own selves. Forthe sake of his law, the youngest of the seven brothersstill being alive. The tyrant made him promise is andhaving summoned his mother sought her help in saving her son's life triumphing over every carnal attachment,so lemonia threw herself on the boy and exhorted him, on the contrary, toendure all the torments so that she might join him and his brothers in thekingdom impelled by a new impulse. Her son thenbegan to curse the tyrant predicting to him that he would soon suffer the justpunishment of his pride. He finished by praying that his sacrifice and that ofhis brothers would appease the divine wrath that had been unleashed againsttheir oppressed people and Tyaka wounded in his self esteem, raged against this holy martyr evenmore cruelly than against the others. In the end, when the last of them hadgloriously, given his soul to God, Solomonian was, in her turn offered asa Holakau and departed to join her sons in the choir of the holy martyrs. Infact, although their witness has been had been before the coming of Christ,these holy martyrs are in no way less than those who followed the Lordimitating his life. Giving passion for it is faith in Christ who alreadyliving in them through the hope of Resurrection, made them triumph overall that held them to the Earth Irenes the reading from the SINEX Arian. These are the devotees of our God that our saviour honored when he celebrated the Feast of Hanukah,as recorded in the tenth chapter of Saint John's Gospel, there Jesus went up to the Feast of Hanako to participate with hisJewish brethren in honoring these incredible heroes. These people who putfaith above everything else these ones, who didn't fear death asmuch as they feared God. It's interesting. I think that these martyrswere fashioned because of a madman who thought he was God in the flesh andJesus chose on this occasion when he was in the temple to celebrate Hanukahto make some of his most audacious claims. With regards to hisown deity, it was here and John Tep ter ten, that Jesus spoke. These words tothose who were listening. I and the father are one. They knew exactly what he was sayingand as a result, they picked up stones to kill our Lord. I find that fascinating. They werecelebrating in the later liturgy of Hanukah the remembrance of a man who claimed tobe God on the earth, but he was lying, but that didn't mean that one day inGod's wisdom, God would not become a man on the earth. In fact he did. The fulfilment of Panuco came to pass.I want to give you an encouragement there once much, like our fathers. Have these these incredible zealots who tried to outdo one another in honor?That's what the seven brothers did that each one wanted to have more faiththan the last. These incredible servants, andespecially Salmonia, have been loved and cherishednot just by the Jews in the Old Testament, but by Christians whocelebrate their livesin fact. Saint...

Paul writes about them in his epistleto the Hebrews in chapter eleven. When he's describing the great people ofFaith in chapter eleven verse, Thirty Five, he talks about mothers who refused to receive their childrenfrom the fire because they were hoping for them a better resurrection. Saint Gregorig, the theologian wrotethe first surviving sermon on the macabees that we know Saint John Crysostum loved the macabeesand had a special attachment to them for a special reason. We have three sermons that Saint JohnCrysostum preached on the macabees, as well as his meditations, especially inhis commentary on the forty Fourth Psum, which he thought was written andinspired by God to prepare his people for the Greek domination that wouldculminate in the maccabees Chris as Tamasa was very interested inthe macabees, because he was for many years a priest of our cathedral andAntioch and in fact, the B, the bones, thebodies of the Machabean martyrs were being preserved in Antioch. In fact, itwas just slightly before Chris as Tom's ascension, to become cathedral preacherthere, that the bones were transferred from the synagogue to a beautifulchurch in Antioch. Chris Istam spoke a lot about theirsacred relics and he was especially taken by Solomona. He wrote such beautifulwords about this mother and I want to read them to you. This is from say, JonPresaume, homily, first homily on the macabees, as he reflects on the life ofSaint celemony and how she's an example listened to this. Let mothersespecially hear these things. Those are his words, but I'm taking them up. Let mothers especially hear thesethings. Let them emulate the woman's courage, her love for her offspring. Let them raise their children. This way for giving birth is not the definingcharacteristic of a mother, for that is a matter of nature. The defining characteristic of a motheris raising her child, for that is a matter of choice and that you may learn that it isn'tgiving birth that makes a mother but raising her children well, listen toPaul Crowning, the widow not because of giving birth, but because of herraising her children and his writings for when he said quote, let a widow beenrolled. Who is no less than sixty years of age who has been observed indoing good works? He added the ultimate in good works, the ultimate in good works. What is it if she has raised children? He didn't say if she has producedchildren, but if she has raised children, so then let's reflect on whatit's likely that the woman suffered. If that is, one should call her a woman atall. When she saw fingers shaking over the burning coals, she saw a headflying off. Can you imagine for own son when she saw an iron fist, pounding thehead of another child and skin tearing away and the child suffering thesetortures still standing and talking? How did she open her mouth? How did shemove her tongue? How did her soul not fly from her flesh? Let me tell you how she didn't look towards the Earth, butshe prepared herself for all things to come. She feared just one thing that the tyrant would spare some andstop the contest early and that he would split up the group of childrenthat some would remain uncrowned and because she was afraid of this. She allbut took the last one in her own hands and put him in the cauldron herselfusing in place of her hands the comfort...

...and advice of the words that sheaddressed to him. What kind of a mother is this? The mother of the sons of Zebite,became a mother of apostles? Yes, but only of two. I know of no single wombthat produce seven martyrs and itself in turn added to their number, not justin the addition of a single martyr, but in that of many more for while herchildren were just seven martyrs, their mother's body, though it was justa single body when added filled the space of fourteen martyrs, both becauseshe was a witness for each one and every one, and because she fashionedthem into such witnesses and so bore for us an entire Church of martyrs. Shegave birth to seven children and gave birth to none for the earth, but allfor heaven. She raised them for the King of Heaven, having borne them e allfor the life to come. What a woman we celebrate today, theirdear ones, Solomona the ultimate model of zeal. For God, she died watching each one of her sons died andthen she offered herself. I encourage you, I encourage you, Ifind so much of relevance in the maccabean history so important. It is it for us to resistassimilation to an aggressive paganism and we can apply that to our own life. Their example shows us that there'severy reason to be courageous, there's every reason to hope in Godthere's every reason to say no to becoming fashioned in the secular image, theaggressive propagation of secular ways of living. We have to resist them. We have to saythe same thing to day that was said by the macabees. Then no, we have to be faithful and not loseheart. We have to fight and not lose hope. We have to be courageous and know that God's salvation is athand and the enemies in truth and love will certainly fail and brothers andsisters. We need to our honor martyrdom and prepare for it, which means we haveto wear our crosses honestly, not as jewelry but as a pledge of our fidelityto die for the sake of the Faith Beautiful Day, Huh Beautiful, bit,happy Tis. 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 norrish Ng, thespiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. If youare interested in other available titles or if you would like moreinformation on patristic nectar publications, please visit our websiteat www, dot, patristic nectar, dot, Org, again, that's www dot, patristic nectar,dotal, t.

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