The Arena
The Arena

Episode 558 · 10 months ago

Radical Forgiveness | Forgiveness Sunday 2022


The Arena Podcast is the flagship of Patristic Nectar Publications and contains the Sunday Sermons and other theological reflections by Father Josiah Trenham delivered from the ambon of St. Andrew Church in Riverside, California and begun in 2010. Currently there are more than 550 sermons and lectures covering ten years worth of preaching through the liturgical calendar.

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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present theological foundations God, man and the world in Genesis one through three a ten lecture series. The opening chapters of the Holy Bible provide the fundamental elements of the Christian World View. There we learn about the one true God, the human being fashioned in God's image and God's meaning infused creation. These texts, which have always formed a central element in the Church's catechetical ministry, present the most important of Christian convictions. These chapters are particularly relevant today, as secularism has suppressed these essential truths from the Western mind and priests can no longer assume that these basic theological affirmations are believed by those coming to the church or raised in the church. These lectures are presented as an aid in the formation of catechumens and as an effort to set forth the transcendent beauty of the glory of God, of the human being and of God's magnificent world. For these and other available titles, visit our website at patristic nectar dot org. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trennam. The name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. A blessed Lord's Day to all of you, brothers and sisters, and best wishes on this forgiveness Sunday, this wonderful day in which we launched into the great fast. This evening may be blessed for your salvation and mind. You hear, I think with me, the drum beat, the drum beat of war, the drum beat of vengeance, ...

...the cries of kill, the demands of submission. We're hearing them as we've heard them before and as the human race has been hearing them since the Garden of Eden. War is awful, and the drumbeat of war began in heaven itself. If you read the apocalypse, especially the twelve chapter, you see that Earth wasn't the origin of war, heaven was. War was conceived in the misuse of Satan's freedom when he raised his angelic hand against God and against all all the angels that would not join him in his open rebellion. He's described in the twelve chapter of the apocalypse as the Great Dragon, and that Great Dragon waged war on the Archangel Michael and his angels, and the Archangel Michael and his angels waged war on the Dragon and there was no longer any place found for the Dragon in heaven and he was cast down with his angels to the Earth. The origin of war is Satan and his rebellion and interestingly, the very next chapter, as it describes the dragon warring against the Archangel Michael and all of the angels and being cast to the earth. What do you know? The very next chapter describes the propagation of war on the earth. Power was given to the dragon to wage war against the woman representing the...

Church and the mother of God and her offspring, trying to attack Christ and to the Saint sub the earth. The texts the beginning of chapter thirteen, that dragon comes to the very seashore and looks out into the Western oceans and he sees coming up from the water a beast and he gives his power to make war against God and the saints to the beast. And the beast from that chapter on, until he is taken and thrown into the lake of fire by Christ and his angels, he promotes war everywhere and particularly against the saints of the Church. Satan wants blood, dear ones. He stokes vengeance and I encourage you. I encourage you, especially the younger a month thus, for whom this may be the first time you're hearing so much about war. I encourage you hold on to your soul, be very careful about the judgments that you make. When the drum beat of war happens, all sorts of spiritual nonsense arises, all sorts of thoughts, all sorts of thoughts, and the temptation is to remove your concern from yourself and to focus it upon the enemy, to put your concern upon someone who's doing something terrible or a nation that is doing something terrible. Those of you who are a little bit more older, and some of our lung old timers here in the parish might remember...

...nineteen years ago here going through this same horrible position. It was two thousand and three, and aren't the similarities clear? Another great power, in this case us. We began to have this feeling that our own security was at risk. This is after eleven. We began to dream up all sorts of dreams about how the actions in another country might be imperiling us. We began to think that we needed to take some sort of action to protect ourselves. We called it at that time, preemptive warfare. We had to come up with a new word, since we were trying to alter the traditional Christian standards of warfare, which required justifiable war to be defensive. So we came up with the idea that we were okay in God's sight, to attack a country, by the way, much much further from us than Ukraine is from Russia. By the way. We came up with an idea that we had to attack a country before they attacked us, because we were just certain they were going to. You might remember the great misery of those days. Nineteen years ago, it all seemed so reasonable, it all seemed so unfortunate but almost necessary. But the percentage now just nineteen, less than two decades later, the percentage of Americans who, looking back, think that that was wise has...

...dwindled down to a tiny, tiny percentage. Look what war does to us. Look how diseased our minds can get because of the passions Satan beats that drum. He's the origin of the misery of war and he has a very loud voice, and somehow those drums resonate with aspects of our fallenness that just move us. You know, our savior has a different cry. You heard it in the Gospel lesson. It's even more radical than war, and war is radical. Jesus's cry is the cry of forgiveness. Unspeakably glorious, absolutely irrational forgiveness, he says in the sermon in the mount. That should tell us something. He places this teaching on forgiveness right smack in the sermon on the Mount. And then, as if that wasn't a clear enough sign how central forgiveness is for us, he attaches it to the Lord's prayer, knowing that we, as his followers, are going to say that prayer morning, noon, night, multiple times a day, every one of us, for the rest of our lives, for the last two thousand years. Having taught us the Lord's prayer, he says immediately the next verse, and if you forgive the sins of others, my father will forgive you, and if you do not forgive the sins of others, neither will my father in heaven forgive your sins. Wow, he takes it, he puts it right into the...

Lord's prayer. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. We say it constantly every day. What a radical call. This is our saviors alternative to vengeance. This is our saviors alternative to the passion of demoni others, which gets us off the hook. No, the way we get off the hook is by fully believing and agreeing with God that the hook is serious, that we all have very serious sins that need to be forgiven, and the way to get off the hook is by giving the free forgiveness that we want from God to everyone else. This is the path, this is the Christian way, and Jesus, like he does in all his teachings, doesn't just teach us, he literally incarnates what he teaches. He fleshes it up, which is why you see the Lord Granting forgiveness constantly, and especially the most marvelous cry from the cross itself. You know, our Lord issued seven cries, seven words from the Cross. They're not found collectively in any one gospel. The reason that we know those seven cries is because we have four gospels. Praise the Lord, Matthew Mark Luke and John Luke's Gospel has a great interest in people like us, Pagans. Pagans, there's a universality and Luke's Gospel that doesn't exist, for instance, in Matthew and in mark. John is his own thing, taking us to heaven. But Luke...

...has this great himself, being a Greek, has this great emphasis on universality and, interestingly, also a great emphasis on forgiveness. If it wasn't for Luke, we wouldn't know about Zechaus. If it wasn't for Luke we wouldn't have the prodigal son. And Luke is the one who gives us the cry of Jesus from the Cross. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. This is the cry of our Savior, literally, as his enemies had wounded him, covered him with blood, shoved the crown of thorns on his head, broken his body to pieces and he was on the verge of expiring. What is his great concern? His great concern is to remove the sins of his enemies so that they don't have to pay for them. He says to his father, they don't know, they don't know. St John Chrissosten, commenting on this text, he says Jesus meant two things. They don't know who he is and they don't know what he was doing. In fact, Jesus is prayer was fulfilled many, many of those who screamed for his death, who demanded that his blood beyond them and their children. Many repented, many became Christians and Jesus is wished for. Their forgiveness came true and his forgiveness overcame their own blood oath. So great is the grace of God, as Paul says, where Sin Abounds, grace super abounds. That example of what Jesus had taught us in his own life is supreme and it began to be expressed in the saints right away. Look at Saint...

Stephen's life. Shortly after our Saviors Crucifixion, Stephen himself captured, stoned, abused, falsely accused, as he's dying, literally as his head smashed in with stones, looks up and sees Jesus standing, not sitting on the throne, standing in honor of his soldier, standing in honor of his noble son who was imitating Jesus both in his passion, being slaughtered as our first martyr, and also in his disposition of love, in his radical forgiveness. And so, Saint Stephen, he repeats two things, two things that Jesus said from the Cross. He makes two of Jesus's Christ his own into THY hands. I commend my spirit, he says, and then he says, Lord, don't hold this against them. Don't hold this against them. Brothers and sisters, radical forgiveness. This is our way, this is our glory. Jesus pressed us on this point so that we would get it. Not Seven Times, Peter. Don't forgive your enemy seven times, even though you think that's incredible. No, seventy time seven, never stop. The more you forgive, the more you manifest yourself as God's the more freely you give it, the more grace pours down upon us. This is the promise of Christ and here we are. Here we are on this marvelous forgiveness Sunday, finding...

...our ways back from exile. This is the way, this is the way. Let's not judge our president, let's not judge President Zelenski, let's not judge President Putin, let's seek forgiveness for every person and especially, let's co operate with Jesus to want, above everything else, to remove the liabilities and the sins from our enemies lives. Then will shine with glory. Then the name of Christ will be lifted up on high and the cry that will fill the air won't be blood curdling, it won't be the triumph of the Dragon. It will be the triumph of Christ. May it come soon. Comment. We hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to you by patristic nectar publications, a non profit 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 W W W dot patristic nectar dot org. When the bid were complete,.

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