The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 10 months ago

Our Brother is Our Life - Judgment Sunday 2021


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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present a new five lecture series entitled ContemporaryWomen Saints. Saint John of Sinai, in his ladder of divine assent,writes that the lives of the saints arouse us to emulation of their courage andlead us to the virtue of humility and compunction. Contemporary Saints are particularly importantsince they acquire their love for God and holiness in the midst of our currentmilieu and demonstrate that spiritual acquisition is possible even in our own troubled times.The five lectures are as follows. Lecture number one the life of Saint Zaniaof Saint Petersburg. Lecture number two the life of Saint Elizabeth, the newmartyr. Lecture number three the life of Saint Maria of Paris. Lecture numberfour the life of Saint Metrona of Moscow. Lecture number five the lives of motherMaria of Olonettes, Schema Num Macaria, the beloved cepher, and Matushka Olgaof Alaska. For these and other of Ale titles, please visit ourwebsite at aatristic nectar dot org and now the arena with Father Josiah Trenna.In the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, I cover my face. Brothers and sisters, with you listening to thatGospel text and before that, to the him the day that was chanted sobeautifully this morning by the chanters, on this great judgment Sunday, you have, I hope, been deeply encouraged in the Sunday's proceeding today, as theChurch has comforted and encouraged her flock as lent approaches. You've heard the storyof Zechaius, the Publican and the PHARISEE. The product was Thun how can yourheart not be swelled with joy at those incredible accounts? And now,as we are on the very edge of launching into great lent next Sunday night, the church sobers us. The padding on the head, the stroking ofthe face, is over to day. That's not to day to day isfear. Today is trembling as we listen to this Gospel Account. The churchwants us to know if we haven't been helped enough by these encouraging preceding Sundays, if that hasn't been enough to compel you to engage seeking God this greatlent, then today the Church says, look, even if you don't feellike it, you better do it because whether you feel like being a Christianor not, you will be judged for being a Christian on the great day, completely irrespective of any feeling you may have. Brothers and sisters, wereGod's children. We've made sacred pledges,...

...we've sworn holy covenants of obedience toGod, and we will be held accountable for them on the Day of Judgment. What a sober day. Since we're studying in the Saint John Chrysostom catecheticalschool the epistle of Paul to the Romans, I chose several passages on this themeto share with you. In Chapter two, Paul has turned his attentionto the Covenant people of God, having first explained the condition, the veryhopeless and scary condition, of the Pagans who have suppressed the truth of Godin unrighteousness and have turned from the worship of God to a life of immorality. He turns now to the people of God and he says this. Doyou suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practicesuch things, when you look down on the Pagans and judge them for theirimmorality, that you yourself will escape the judgment of God? Do you thinklightly of the riches of his kindness and his tolerance and patience, not knowingthat the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness, Oh man, and because of your unrepentant heart, you are storing upwrath for yourself in the day of Wrath and the revelation of the righteous judgmentof God. If we believers are stubborn hearted and have hearts that are notrepentant, for us the stay will be terrible. It will be terrible.The second passage from Romans comes from chapter eleven, were set. Paul iscoming to the conclusion of three whole chapters that he's dedicated to trying to explainto the believers how the people of God could so miss the picture, howthe Jews, so privileged in covenant with God, having received his Oracles,all his promises, all the prophets, could actually miss so many of themthe Messiah and subsequently be cast off for their unbelief. As the gentiles pouredinto the Church, and Paul writes this. They were broken off for their unbelief. But you, gentiles, stand by your faith. Do not beconceited fear, for if God did not spare the natural branches, the Jews, neither will he spare you. Behold, then, the kindness and the severityof God. This is certainly what we've seen in these weeks, mostlythe kindness, and today we hear the severity, and Paul says, beholdboth the kindness and the severity of God. To those who fell severity, butto you God's kindness. If you continue in his kindness all, otherwiseyou also will be cut off. Would you like to hide with me undermy Felonian Lord? Have mercy. I deeply, deeply respect this Sunday andwhy the church, in her wisdom or inspired wisdom, appoints this before lent, and I deeply respect the importance of speaking about the judgment. But Idread this Sunday and I dread preaching on this Sunday. Last week I calledFather Thomas in a sense of this dread...

...and I said, a Bunna,how would you like to preach on Sunday? But then he really shamed me.He said, father, you had me preach judgment Sunday last year.Oh Ah, I went back this week through twenty seven years. Couple yearsI didn't preach it. Of sermon titles for this Sunday. They were alldifferent, but they certainly didn't remove any of my dread. Two years agoI simply entitled the Sermon Tremble. Year before that the coming great singularity intwo thousand and sixteen alast black soul, which is directly from the hymnity ofOrthros. One year I called that the one ultimate reality. It's clear,brothers and sisters, the great judgment is the ultimate point of reference in ourChristian lives. It's not something that we just think about today, although thechurch forces us to be mature and to be serious and to have this entireSunday dedicated to the subject, but it's something we think about and that appearsin all of our scripture reading and in the prayers of the church constantly,because it's such an important point of reference for our lives. It inspires ouroutlook on things. We believe in a very single specific day that's coming,a single specific judge, the Lord Jesus, who holds everyone's soul in his hands. According to the Gospel. Today, a single standard will be used,works, not intensions, works, a single rendered and unappealable sentence anda single eternal reward. This is what we believe. The great judgment ishow we view time. For us, the most important rhythm of time,the most important orientation of history. This language is so popular with our extremelyreligiously uneducated politicians for the last twenty years. They love to talk about the movementof history and being on the right side or left side of history,or the arc of history, blah, Blah Blah. Christians considered the movementof history to be a movement to the judgment seat. This is where we'regoing. So I want to suggest two things, two ways, give youtwo words on how we can live so as to be able to stand andnot fall on that day. The church is constantly molding us, especially inthe divine liturgy. Do you know one of the important orientations of the liturgynow, in every liturgy, is the judgment seat. The Altar is thejudgment seat. So when you stand in liturgy and you face the altar,you are preparing yourself for that final day. You're standing right now before the judgmentseat of Christ. You're thinking about..., you're forming your heart inresponse to it, you're judging yourself. Now every time you go to confession, you're going to stand before the judgment seat and to render judgment against yourself, trusting that God will not render judgment against you for the same things thatyou've render judgment against yourself about. Listen to this prayer. This is aprayer I think you probably never hear unless we're being kind of loud, butif you were here around eight thirty or eight forty on a Sunday morning,you would see the clergy gather here on the SOLEYA and we would do asmall prayer service and then we would enter the altar together. It's called Kirnand it's very beautiful. We kiss each of the icons on the iconistas oneby one, and then we read this prayer. Listen to this prayer.The one who praised this is the Protos, though, the one who will bestanding in front of the judgment seat and leading the liturgy. Stretch forththy hand, O Lord, from THY holy dwelling place on high and strengthenme for thine appointed service, that standing without condemnation before thy fearful judgment seatI may fulfill the sacred, bloodless service, for thine is the power and theglory unto ages of ages. Amen. Every Sunday, brothers and sisters,when you come and stand here, you're getting ready for it. You'revoluntarily standing before the judge. What do we call this day, the Lord'sDay? And what do we call the Great Day, the day of theLord? That's what's coming. Here are two words on how we can livein such a way to stand. The first work comes from Moses's lips,the Great Prophet in God's Seer, and he says what I'm about to quotejust after he has led the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt andGod has miraculously parted the Red Sea and in that Old Testament type of baptism. Paul calls it a baptism. He says they were all baptized into Mosesin the cloud and in the sea, in that after going through the RedSea on dry land, they came out into the wilderness and their walk tothe Promised Land. And this is what Moses told them. This is forredeemed people. This is found in the viticus eighteen. I am the Lordyour God. You shall not act according to the practices of the land ofEgypt, wherein you lived. You shall not act according to the practices ofthe land of Canaan, where I am bringing you to live. You shallnot live by their precepts, my judgments. You shall perform my ordinances, youshall keep to walk by them, and as for the things that aperson does, he shall live by my ordinances. You hear what Moses issaying to these delivered baptized people. Don't go back what's behind, you leaveit behind. You don't do what the Egyptians did and don't do what isgoing on in the land where I'm taking you. You have an absolutely uniqueway of life, my life, my... Don't get your standards,your thoughts, your deeds from the world in which you live. This isthe message, and this is my first word to you, to encourage you, brothers and sisters, on how we can stand on the Great Day.We can stand if we make the substance of our thoughts and deeds the commandmentsof God and not the ways of men in our culture or for wherever wehave come from. After Moses says this, he goes on and he lists allsorts of particular things he's concerned about. First, our issues of immorality,specially sexual immorality, and he calls them to avoid incest, beast reality, homosexuality and other things in great detail. And then he turns their focus tocommandments with respect to our neighbor. He calls them to respect other people'sproperty, not to impinge on other people's property, not to steal. Healso calls on the people of God not to fully harvest their own fields,but to always leave food to be reaped for the poor. This is God'sway. Our income is not just ours. It must take an account of ourneighbor. Pay Your employees faithfully, he says. Never withhold what's doto one of your employees for your benefit. Never Harbor Hatred in your heart againstyour neighbor. Don't let anger inside of you. Never take vengeance andthen wait for it. Yes, love your neighbor as yourself, the prophetMoses. So there you have it, brother since sisters, this is myfirst encouragement to you. Don't conform to the fallen world, but conformed toGod and especially, Note, especially note, that conforming to God means living withyour neighbor in mind. And that takes me to point too, andthe Gospel text today. The second word is to embrace the truth that Iwill be saved and you will be saved only one way, only one way, through someone else. I will be saved and you will be saved onlythrough your neighbor. This is as clear as they in the Gospel text today. Inasmuch as you did it to the one of the least of these,my brethren, you did it to me, and inasmuch as you did not doit to one of the least of these, my brothers, you didnot do it to me, Christ says. Do you see what he's saying?What a Christian vision of life, how Christological cool. Everything is aboutChrist, whether we know it or not. Everything. If we decide, whenwe're getting a drink of water, to share a drink of water withthe person next to us, we're doing that for Christ's sake, whether weknow it or not. That's how he sees it. And it works theopposite way. If you decide that you're so thirsty you don't have time topour him a cup of water and you just drink yourself, you're denying Christa cup of water. This is what the Lord is saying. This ishow radical it is to be a Christian. All people will be divided between thesheep and the goats based on this, giving food or drink to the hungryand thirsty. This isn't just physical drink, although it is that.It's also drink for the soul, tangible charity of body and soul. Andwe can't do this if we're only concerned...

...with feeding ourselves and having our owndrink. We're not going to do it. Here's one for us, extremely relevantfor us, we who have fifty three catechumans and will make five newones today. Welcoming strangers, welcomings. Did you know that your soul hangsin the balance with regards to your salvation based upon your relationship to strangers?It does, I promise you. Is What the Lord said. Those whowelcome strangers, Christ will consider that he's been welcomed, and those who donot welcome strangers and only do what feels good with their friends and family,I'm promising you death. I promise you death if that's how you live,only talking to, showing interest in and hanging out with the people that you'recomfortable with, your friends and your family. There's nothing Christian about it. We'restranger welcomes and, believe me, strangeness comes in many ways. Don'tyou know it, and aren't you thankful for it? Church is absolutely fullof strangeness of every kind. God has welcomed us and we welcome strangers.Of course, we can't do this if we're only interested in those that werecomfortable with clothing the naked. And just like there's many types of feeding,physical and spiritual, there's also many types of nakedness. The church offers arobe of holiness to us, the covering of modesty, the blanket of loveand acceptance, the eptrehlion of absolution, the garment of friendship. All ofthose things are ways that we clothe those who are naked and come to usso vulnerable and exposed, and we wrap them in love like a blanket,and we put their sins and the ocean by this and we embrace them andcover their nakedness with friendship. This is how we live, visiting the sickand the imprisoned. This is extremely important point today. We have to becareful, brothers and sisters, not to lose our Christian faith by our culturesobsession obsession with avoiding sickness. If there's one thing I'm most interested in seeingas we get through and over this virus, is if we will be able toreturn, if we will in fact recover our deep commitment to being withthe sick, because we've lost it. We've been banned from practicing our Christianfaith. Is going to the hospital to see a sick person in option?For a Christian there is no option. We don't go to visit the sickjust because there are friends. We visit the sick because we think on theDay of judgment, if we haven't visited the sick, we will be rejected. That's why we do it, because this is a way to serve Christ. And when we visit the sick, he considers that we're visiting him orcaring for him, and if we don't, that we've neglected him. Allowing hospitalsto shut out visitors to the sick, even the priests, is an antiChristian policy. I'm not suggesting recklessness, I'm suggesting compassion, fullblown Christian compassion. This is what Jesus expects from us and this is why, brothersand sisters, this is why that beautiful...

...word stums it all up from StSilouan, the Athonite, when he says our brother is our life, ourbrother is our life. We need to hear this, don't we? Ithink so. I think so. It's the truth and it's our Lord's wordsand whatever. In those areas wherever we're weak or uncomfortable about feeding the hungryor giving water to the thirsty or clothing the naked or visiting the sick,we have to do what Saint Basil the great says to do. When wethink about the judgment seat. Commenting on this passage, he says this.He says turn the involuntary into the voluntary. That which Christ says you have todo but you don't want to do. Choose to do. Choose to dowill be doing it to Christ and it will allow us to stand onthe Day of Judgment without shame. And that's what I want for myself andthat's what I want for you, a good defense before the dread judgment.See the Christ comment. We hope that you have enjoyed and have been edifiedby this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committedto nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. Ifyou are interested in other available titles or if you would like more information onpatristic nectar publications, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org. Again, that's www dot petristic nectar dot org.

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