The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 1 year 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 Contemporary Women 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 and lead us to the virtue of humility and compunction. Contemporary Saints are particularly important since they acquire their love for God and holiness in the midst of our current milieu 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 Zania of Saint Petersburg. Lecture number two the life of Saint Elizabeth, the new martyr. Lecture number three the life of Saint Maria of Paris. Lecture number four the life of Saint Metrona of Moscow. Lecture number five the lives of mother Maria of Olonettes, Schema Num Macaria, the beloved cepher, and Matushka Olga of Alaska. For these and other of Ale titles, please visit our website 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 that Gospel text and before that, to the him the day that was chanted so beautifully this morning by the chanters, on this great judgment Sunday, you have, I hope, been deeply encouraged in the Sunday's proceeding today, as the Church has comforted and encouraged her flock as lent approaches. You've heard the story of Zechaius, the Publican and the PHARISEE. The product was Thun how can your heart 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 of the face, is over to day. That's not to day to day is fear. Today is trembling as we listen to this Gospel Account. The church wants 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 great lent, then today the Church says, look, even if you don't feel like it, you better do it because whether you feel like being a Christian or not, you will be judged for being a Christian on the great day, completely irrespective of any feeling you may have. Brothers and sisters, were God's children. We've made sacred pledges,...

...we've sworn holy covenants of obedience to God, 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 catechetical school the epistle of Paul to the Romans, I chose several passages on this theme to share with you. In Chapter two, Paul has turned his attention to the Covenant people of God, having first explained the condition, the very hopeless and scary condition, of the Pagans who have suppressed the truth of God in 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. Do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things, when you look down on the Pagans and judge them for their immorality, that you yourself will escape the judgment of God? Do you think lightly of the riches of his kindness and his tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness, Oh man, and because of your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of Wrath and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God. If we believers are stubborn hearted and have hearts that are not repentant, for us the stay will be terrible. It will be terrible. The second passage from Romans comes from chapter eleven, were set. Paul is coming to the conclusion of three whole chapters that he's dedicated to trying to explain to the believers how the people of God could so miss the picture, how the Jews, so privileged in covenant with God, having received his Oracles, all his promises, all the prophets, could actually miss so many of them the Messiah and subsequently be cast off for their unbelief. As the gentiles poured into the Church, and Paul writes this. They were broken off for their unbelief. But you, gentiles, stand by your faith. Do not be conceited fear, for if God did not spare the natural branches, the Jews, neither will he spare you. Behold, then, the kindness and the severity of God. This is certainly what we've seen in these weeks, mostly the kindness, and today we hear the severity, and Paul says, behold both the kindness and the severity of God. To those who fell severity, but to you God's kindness. If you continue in his kindness all, otherwise you also will be cut off. Would you like to hide with me under my Felonian Lord? Have mercy. I deeply, deeply respect this Sunday and why the church, in her wisdom or inspired wisdom, appoints this before lent, and I deeply respect the importance of speaking about the judgment. But I dread this Sunday and I dread preaching on this Sunday. Last week I called Father 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 years I didn't preach it. Of sermon titles for this Sunday. They were all different, but they certainly didn't remove any of my dread. Two years ago I simply entitled the Sermon Tremble. Year before that the coming great singularity in two thousand and sixteen alast black soul, which is directly from the hymnity of Orthros. 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 our Christian lives. It's not something that we just think about today, although the church forces us to be mature and to be serious and to have this entire Sunday dedicated to the subject, but it's something we think about and that appears in 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 our outlook 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 and a single eternal reward. This is what we believe. The great judgment is how we view time. For us, the most important rhythm of time, the most important orientation of history. This language is so popular with our extremely religiously uneducated politicians for the last twenty years. They love to talk about the movement of history and being on the right side or left side of history, or the arc of history, blah, Blah Blah. Christians considered the movement of history to be a movement to the judgment seat. This is where we're going. So I want to suggest two things, two ways, give you two words on how we can live so as to be able to stand and not fall on that day. The church is constantly molding us, especially in the divine liturgy. Do you know one of the important orientations of the liturgy now, in every liturgy, is the judgment seat. The Altar is the judgment 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 judgment seat of Christ. You're thinking about...

...it, you're forming your heart in response 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 that you've render judgment against yourself about. Listen to this prayer. This is a prayer I think you probably never hear unless we're being kind of loud, but if 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 a small prayer service and then we would enter the altar together. It's called Kirn and it's very beautiful. We kiss each of the icons on the iconistas one by one, and then we read this prayer. Listen to this prayer. The one who praised this is the Protos, though, the one who will be standing in front of the judgment seat and leading the liturgy. Stretch forth thy hand, O Lord, from THY holy dwelling place on high and strengthen me for thine appointed service, that standing without condemnation before thy fearful judgment seat I may fulfill the sacred, bloodless service, for thine is the power and the glory unto ages of ages. Amen. Every Sunday, brothers and sisters, when you come and stand here, you're getting ready for it. You're voluntarily standing before the judge. What do we call this day, the Lord's Day? And what do we call the Great Day, the day of the Lord? That's what's coming. Here are two words on how we can live in 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 quote just after he has led the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt and God 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 Moses in the cloud and in the sea, in that after going through the Red Sea on dry land, they came out into the wilderness and their walk to the Promised Land. And this is what Moses told them. This is for redeemed people. This is found in the viticus eighteen. I am the Lord your God. You shall not act according to the practices of the land of Egypt, wherein you lived. You shall not act according to the practices of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you to live. You shall not live by their precepts, my judgments. You shall perform my ordinances, you shall keep to walk by them, and as for the things that a person does, he shall live by my ordinances. You hear what Moses is saying to these delivered baptized people. Don't go back what's behind, you leave it behind. You don't do what the Egyptians did and don't do what is going on in the land where I'm taking you. You have an absolutely unique way of life, my life, my...

...life. Don't get your standards, your thoughts, your deeds from the world in which you live. This is the 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 commandments of God and not the ways of men in our culture or for wherever we have come from. After Moses says this, he goes on and he lists all sorts 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 to commandments with respect to our neighbor. He calls them to respect other people's property, not to impinge on other people's property, not to steal. He also 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's way. Our income is not just ours. It must take an account of our neighbor. Pay Your employees faithfully, he says. Never withhold what's do to one of your employees for your benefit. Never Harbor Hatred in your heart against your neighbor. Don't let anger inside of you. Never take vengeance and then wait for it. Yes, love your neighbor as yourself, the prophet Moses. So there you have it, brother since sisters, this is my first encouragement to you. Don't conform to the fallen world, but conformed to God and especially, Note, especially note, that conforming to God means living with your neighbor in mind. And that takes me to point too, and the Gospel text today. The second word is to embrace the truth that I will 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 only through 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 do it to one of the least of these, my brothers, you did not do it to me, Christ says. Do you see what he's saying? What a Christian vision of life, how Christological cool. Everything is about Christ, whether we know it or not. Everything. If we decide, when we're getting a drink of water, to share a drink of water with the person next to us, we're doing that for Christ's sake, whether we know it or not. That's how he sees it. And it works the opposite way. If you decide that you're so thirsty you don't have time to pour him a cup of water and you just drink yourself, you're denying Christ a cup of water. This is what the Lord is saying. This is how radical it is to be a Christian. All people will be divided between the sheep and the goats based on this, giving food or drink to the hungry and thirsty. This isn't just physical drink, although it is that. It's also drink for the soul, tangible charity of body and soul. And we can't do this if we're only concerned...

...with feeding ourselves and having our own drink. We're not going to do it. Here's one for us, extremely relevant for us, we who have fifty three catechumans and will make five new ones today. Welcoming strangers, welcomings. Did you know that your soul hangs in the balance with regards to your salvation based upon your relationship to strangers? It does, I promise you. Is What the Lord said. Those who welcome strangers, Christ will consider that he's been welcomed, and those who do not 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're comfortable with, your friends and your family. There's nothing Christian about it. We're stranger welcomes and, believe me, strangeness comes in many ways. Don't you know it, and aren't you thankful for it? Church is absolutely full of 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 were comfortable 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 a robe of holiness to us, the covering of modesty, the blanket of love and acceptance, the eptrehlion of absolution, the garment of friendship. All of those things are ways that we clothe those who are naked and come to us so 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 and cover their nakedness with friendship. This is how we live, visiting the sick and the imprisoned. This is extremely important point today. We have to be careful, brothers and sisters, not to lose our Christian faith by our cultures obsession obsession with avoiding sickness. If there's one thing I'm most interested in seeing as we get through and over this virus, is if we will be able to return, if we will in fact recover our deep commitment to being with the sick, because we've lost it. We've been banned from practicing our Christian faith. 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 sick just because there are friends. We visit the sick because we think on the Day 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 or caring for him, and if we don't, that we've neglected him. Allowing hospitals to shut out visitors to the sick, even the priests, is an anti Christian policy. I'm not suggesting recklessness, I'm suggesting compassion, fullblown Christian compassion. This is what Jesus expects from us and this is why, brothers and sisters, this is why that beautiful...

...word stums it all up from St Silouan, the Athonite, when he says our brother is our life, our brother is our life. We need to hear this, don't we? I think so. I think so. It's the truth and it's our Lord's words and whatever. In those areas wherever we're weak or uncomfortable about feeding the hungry or 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 we think 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 to do but you don't want to do. Choose to do. Choose to do will be doing it to Christ and it will allow us to stand on the Day of Judgment without shame. And that's what I want for myself and that'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 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. If you are interested in other available titles or if you would like more information on patristic 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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