The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 9 years ago

Receiving and Embracing the Great Responsibility


Second Sunday after Pentecost. Learn more about Patristic Nectar Publications.

The principle of Christ calling us tohis service is common to us all, and every one of you in here has heeded theresponse, the call of our saviour to his service and baptism in each onevery condition. What the Lord is asking is that you take what you're given theresponsibility he has intrusted to you, that you receive it for his sake andyou take that small area. It could be a desk, a car, a truck and office, themanagement of persons whatever it is, you take it and you make it an outpostof his presence. Ancient faith, radio and patristicnectar, publications present the arena Sunday Homilyes and theologicalreflections with father, Jesiah, Trenna, Father Jessiah is the pastor of SaintAndrew Orthodox Christian Church in Riverside California. He is also thefounder of Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organizationcommitted to nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of theHoly Fathers for more information on Patristic nectrar publications. Pleasevisit our website at www, dot, patristic nectar, Dodorg and now father,Jesiah n, the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit on God. Brothers and sisters you heard in theGospel this Gospel for the second Sunday after Pentagon, a very short pungent account of our saviors callinghis first four disciples Andrew Peter James and John. It's an amazingly unlikely account. Our Saviour calls the most unlikelyfolks to build the Greatest Organization, themost magnificent divine and heavenly institution in history, and he's going to establish it upon twosets of brothers, who are fishermen, simple, uneducated men? Who would think no one would believe this today. God's wisdom is certainly not man's. What was involved was a divine call. A radical request from Jesus to themarticulated in just two words follow me, but they knew what he was asking. They knew enough about him having beendisciples of the forerunner having been with John The baptist. Having alreadyhad some interaction with Jesus, they recognized that this was just not acall to come. Listen for a little while this was a radical call to on earth. It was a call to break bonds in orderto reestablish a much more significant bond with Jesus,primarily and then throuh him with everyone else. It was areorientation of the most extreme kind. Follow me means uproot yourself fromyour most stable forces in life. Leave your family, that's what it meant forthem. Can you imagine that first night in Zebidy's house, hello, dear the boysare not coming home tonight for dinner, they weren't uproot yourselves from family leaveyour job leave your home, your town, embrace new geography altogether, theyleft their biological families for the... of disciples. They left fishing at the Sea of Galileeto become fishurs of men and they left Betseda to embrace the whole world. Some of you are avid travelers, but I can assure you nothing comparedto the Holy Apostles. They had immense faith. They had immense faith, even though itwas in such kernel form in Jesus that they followed him. He had already impressed them enough. Ionce heard a servant on this text and the priest said they went from low pay.They were fishermen, young fishermen, they went from low pay to no pay, but they went in their great fect intheir great faith. What was the mission that Jesus wascalling them too? Let me say a few words about that. The first thing thatJesus was asking of them is that they become his disciples by a thoroughgoingrepentance. They showed that practically by a onehundred and eighty degree turn from nets and the Ocean to Christ and hisservice. Remember that this account begins inthe eighteenth vers of Chapter Four of say: Matthew's Gospel, the seventeenthverse records the first words out of Jesus'smouth, the first time he ever preached publicly, and those words were repentfor the Kingdom of Heaven is a Han. This calling of the disciples is in thecontext of his preaching of Repentance, and this is the first thing he'scalling them to in the mission a thoroughgoing repentance establishing themselves as hisdisciples and entering into a three year whole life catechism in which theywould learn to live with and serve the savior and their future. Success, asapostles was built upon these three years of intensive twenty four hour aday. Seven Day a week, three hundred and sixty five day a year catechism atthe hands of our saving. This was the best seminary that everexisted. The second part of their mission, having first done this becoming formedthrough repentance, and this three year catechism, was to preach the Gospel tothe entire creation, oversee the conversion of the nations and plant andshepherd the entire church has that for job description. This is what Jesus was asking: Thosefishermen, those young fishermen to do cinvert the world sanctify everyone and join them to meby the mysteries and shepherd the whole church. Okay, Lord, they were to free the world fromdarkness. They were to break the grip of Satan on men and women across theGlobe and eradicate slavery to Sin. They were the ultimate freedom wriders.They brought freedom to the cosmos and, finally, their third mission at the end of their life, was to ascend thrones and to sit on apostolic thrones onJesus, his left and right and judge the world. This is what he promised them. Thispart of their mission will be done and complete in the future. This is what our savior was callingthem to do, and he had a strategy, a very detailedstrategy. He had a great logic behind...

...his choice. Not only did he spend manymany hours and sleepless nights on the tops of mountains, frank to his fatherfor discernment, about who he should call as disciples. He did that beforehe called his disciple recorded in Saint Luke's Gospel. He made this call and he establishedthe very numbers of his disciples with an emangelistic strategy in mine, I'llcall it the seventy twelve three one strategy: Seventy twelve three one strategy: Thiswas our saviour's plan. He called seventy apostles. These werenot the twelve, they were less her apostles. He gave them a measure of authority andpower, gifts and miracles, and he sent them in front of him into towns and villages to announce hispresence to proclaim in the city squares, thefulfilment of the promises that were given by the prophets and to get everyone ready for whenJesus would come. We know who these are. They arewonderful people like Sait, Luke, the Apostle and evangelast same barnabysand others. He did this because, as you heard inthe Gospel, he was going about every town and village, preaching the Kingdomof God and healing all manner of disease and sickness. How did they knowwhat to bring their sick? The seventy were there. They were saying if youwant your sick heel, get them in the Rod, AFE Jesus as coming at threeo'clock to this town- maybe they weren't so German, punctual,but that was the general the general idea. Now the twelve were his intimatedisciples. He allowed them in much closer than hedid the seventy and he revealed to them the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. He told them things that no human earhad ever heard. He explained his teaching and his mysteries to themand he made them the very foundation stones of the church. He gave them thesigns of the apostles, even the ability to triumph over demons to heal the sick,to raise the dead and then within that twelve, which wasthe fulfillment of that sacred number ind, the Old Testament of the tribes ofIsrael. He chose twelve to be the newfoundations for the new Israel for the New Testament Church and within thattwelve, he chose three Peter James and John as an inner circle. These three accompanied Jesus placesthat the twelve did not like to the top of Mount Taboar. These three became the livingconnection between our saviour and his transfiguration and the reft of theWorld Peter he made the Prince of theApostles James. He made the First Apostolic Martyr and John. He was the one in the seventy twelve three in onestrategy he was in the twelve. He was in thethree, but he was in a league by himself. He was in the scripturescalled the beloved disciple. He was the one granted to rest his headon the bosom of Christ. That resting was a significant event from that connection. Came for the Stream, a fountain ofTheology and John Of all, the apostlesarticulated depths of Trinitari and theology in hisGospel penetrated the heavens... his account that he gave in thespirit and the apocalypse and the revelation and establish the ethos ofthe Church as a community of love. For God and neighbour in his epistles, through these men, these seventy, thesetwelve, these three and this one, the faith is spread over the whole earth.This was our saviour strategy called by Christ. They becameestablished in repentance. They were washed by Jesus himself, filled andempowered by the Holy Spirit and sent according to his prescription fromJerusalem and then a little bit further to Judea and then a little bit furtherto Sumeria and then to the ends of the Earth. They establishd churches inevery place. They ordained bishops and Thriests to carry on their GospelMinistry, laying their apostolic hands on the heads of sinners and conveyingto men the grace of the mysteries and the Authority of God to forgive sinsand retain them. They inspired monks and nuns, men andwomen who, in a quest to imitate the apostolic life, made also a radical departure fromattachments to this world. They infused the whole body of the church, with a spirit of service to the Lord and men, women and children who becameChristians, chose to Labour for Christ. To put theservice of the Lord above. Every earthly thing to co operate in asymphony of service to March, as the army of Christ, under the generalshipof the clergy, against the forces of the evil one, and to wait for toeagerly anticipate and to seek first above everything else, the second coming of their savior, the climaxtic breaking in of theKingdom of God, the fulfilment of history in the establishment of Heavenon the Earth. We in the twenty firnst century wee living in the churchestablished by them, brothers and sisters. Our life is a direct fruit of theirobedience to the call of Christ that you heard about in the Gospel. Today. We live the faith that they preachedand we seek to live the same discipleship to the master that theymanifested in their own callings and their own willingness to without hesitation. Follow. Let me say now a few words about their response and ours. You've seen how radical this call was,what our saviors strategy and thought was and how it was fulfilled and successful to this day, but look at how shocking their responsewas, how quick they embraced the Path and how the apostles accepted theresponsibility to do what Jesus was asking that concept, the acceptance of responsibility is notvogue. You know this. If there is a concept today repulsive to Western society, it's the acceptanceof responsibility. It manifests itself in a thousand ways and against it the apostles bearwitness. I fear that we are all terribly threatened by this temptationto think that the more responsibility we have, the more enchacpled we are to think that the more things weembrace in the service of God, the less free we are. This is a terrible lie. The path of responsibility, the embrace of responsibility, is thesign of greatness of soul. It's a sign...

...of dignity and it's the way to freedomand happiness and exhaustion. Who Cares we accepted it when we were baptized,we pledged our service to the Lord. We enrolled ourselves as spiritualwarriors and his army, and every one of us, brothers andsisters has a part to play. Every one of us has a calling it's not asdramatic as the apostle. No doubt there unique, but the principle of Christ calling usto his service is common to us all, and every one of you in here has heeded theresponse. The call of our saviour to his service and baptism you make saidyou made sacred vows. You made a pledge for your life to be his servants to follow him ineach and everything you do to make all aspects of your life ways that his facecould shine a means by which his kingdom could bemanifested, and it doesn't matter if you're, a mother at home, bandaging knees, giving bats and usingthem Ma, guffy reader or, if you're, a retired person free from the responsibilities of work.Does it matter in each o every condition? What the Lord is asking is that you take what you're, given theresponsibility he has entrusted to you, that you receive it for his sake andyou take that small area. It could be a desk, a car, a truck and office, themanagement of persons whatever it is, you take it and you make it an outpostof his presence. You take it and you make it his youmake whatever it is Christian. I love the eighth chapter of the ehactsof the apostles. It's a fantastic chapter, because we'vejust witnessed Saint Steven's martyrdom in chapterseven, which has shocked the church. The Lord told them to convert thenations. He told them that in the process many would respond and manywould resist even unto the point of killing us, but they hadn't actuallyseen it. Yet when Stephen was slaughtered, this wasthe first time the seriousness of our saviour's words and of our missionbecame manifest to the apostles. They recognize that this is going to bea bloody mess, literally in the fulfillment of theevangelistic call Steven had hardly been martyred and ageneral persecution broke out against the church, not just Stevhen and allthe apostle had a decision to make. Should we leave or should we stay? Theysaid temporarily we're going to stay in Jerusalem, but we want most of thebelievers to leave and it says an act chapter, eight that the believers leftJerusalem and they were scattered abroad. So here is an initial divisionbetween the generals, the Clar ty, the Holy Apostles and the faithful and thefaithful left. But then it says everywhere they went. They went about reaching the word everywhere, the faithful went. It showsvery clearly that the church embraced from the beginning brothers and sistersa concept of mission that was not just a work of the apostles. They knew who their leaders were, butthey knew they were in the army and all of the believers embraced themission of cries wherever they were leaving their homes scattered fromJerusalem. They were busy...

...making where they were belong to God. Today we honour the apostles and we honor thosebelievers who have accepted like the apostles responsibility from God'shands, especially our fathers. This is the glory of being a father. Afather worthy of praise is a man who has accepted responsibility from God. You know that these types of fathers,as dear as they are to us, are very rare. In our society we havean epidemic of chestless fathers, men who like to use women for their ownpleasure without commitment men who, like to sighr children, but not raise them men who don't have any problem, doing the deeds o fatherhood to bring children intoexistence, but won't lay down their life to raisetheir children up in beauty. We stand against this great betrayal offatherhood. We honour, like we did this morning, we onor the fathers of our children. What a joy for me as abrief to hold in my arms two precious children, and especially I want to commend thecouples you know one of those children was a fifth. Yes. Do you hear that we honor them? We support our families, who areaccepting the responsibility that the Lord is giving them. We know that to dothat, the father say is a small type ofmartydom. That's how serious the service is to allow not just one or two children, but toallow a third, a fifth to do that with happiness. Is a service to God andit's an acceptance of responsibility that brings with it tha's the loud,vocal support of the Church we Oue. We know our future lays there. We just made two catecumans: that'swhat the churching service is. CHURCHING is the making of Katahumans of children of believers a sai we just did, and you know thatpretty much this last twelve months we have made as many catecumans bychildren of the believers as we have a people from outside the church runningneck and neck. I wouldn't doubt really. I won't doubt that they'll come a timein the growth of our parish. That will be making more catechumans, who arechildren of O R, our families, then we will from outside and I'm not expectingto decrease our evangeliftic efforts outside. I expect toe to increase, butit's always been the case. SINT Ambro says this: that the Church has builbuilt, built up most by families, accepting the responsibility of takingchildren and raising them floord the glory of God. This isn't just becauseof numbers, but it's because the means of formation we can take an adult fromoutside the Church, preach the Gospel to them, bring them into the experienceof the church, wash away their sins in baptism, build them up throughdiscipleship, but that still is giving them only a tiny fraction of whatchildren in this parish will get in the course of eighteen years living intheir homes celebrating for eighteen years, thesacred cycle of services, interacting with their brothers and sisters,hopefully getting an Orthodox education.

That is why Saint Ambro said the bestway for the building up of the church and the propagation of the faith is forthe believers to accept the responsibility of parentony and to puttheir hearts into. It were very happy to celebrate this day.It's been a hundred and two years in America that we've been keepingfather's Day since nineteen ten started in Spokan Washington in the YMCA. It took about forty years for ourpresidents finally to declare it with the power of the executive, but we'vebeen holding celebrations in honor of our fathers. For a long time, mothershad a lot longer. History. FOTHERS are okay with that ware. Okay,with that, we know where the honor lies. More thanfatherhood were happy to raise our voices in honorof our fathers and those of our families who areembracing children, those of our young couples. You know that other preciouschild little Jude I was holding was a number two, but he was a number two and how manyyears marriage, maybe the same, maybe the same brothers and sisters. We honor these fathers. They don't know how they're going toprovide for their kids, but they trust God. They know he willprovide for them and they're willing to work and they're willing to lay theirlives down for their children. We onnour fathers like this. We praisethem and we pledge don't we oure support for families in the parish. Weknow that they are not here to raise their kids by themselves, but together, every family in this church strugglingto raise their children is dependent upon the older people in this community.The single people in this community and the young ones were brothers andsisters, fathers and mothers, aunties and uncles to each other. The process of accomplishing this taskis a process that we're doing together with mutual support, and we trust thelords in it. He will help us. He will help us. Yesterday I was giving counsel to adistressed mother, not an unusual thing, for a priest tobe doing, and I thought to I thought to tell herone piece of advice. I said Sweetart Look, I'm listening to everything. You'resaying I understand. There's one thing I suggest you do. She said what father I said: Learn tosmile when you're tired learn to smile when you're tired. That is what the apostles did. This is why Saint Paul could sing afterbeing mugged and left half dead and put in prison and at midnight he wassinging the hymns of the Lord. That's the Christian way of life. Lord. Here Iam. Let me be your servant. I pledge toaccept the responsibility of your guidance in my life, and not only willI do it, but I'll do it with joy. While I'm tired, God help us to smile whenwe're exhausten Omin you've been listening to a presentationof ancient faith. Radio and patristic nectar publications Ti Arena Sunday,Hamawis and theological reflections with Father Jessiatrenum, FatherJessiah is the pastor of sainandrew Orthodox Christian Church in RiversideCalifornia. He is also the founder of PatristicNectur Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishingthe spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers for more information on Patristic necurpublications. Please visit our website a www dot, patristic nectar, Dod Org;again, that's www dot, patristic nectar,...

Dodorg until next time.

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