The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 10 years ago

Saint Photini

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The transformation of a sexually broken woman into a saint equal to the apostles. Learn more about Patristic Nectar Publications.

Human beings are not genes only on biology and circumstances. We know that when we sin, we are not acting according to nature, that in fact, we were fashion in holiness and goodness, that when we came out of from the hand of God, we were we came out to be married, that it was this way from the beginning, and for this cause, a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two will become one flesh. Marriage and holiness from the beginning. Ancient Faith Radio and patristic nectar publications present the arena Sunday homilies and theological reflections with Father Josiah trenem. Father Josiah is the pastor of St Andrew Orthodox Christian Church in Riverside, California. He is also the founder of Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. For more information on patristic nectar publications, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org. And now, Father Josiah, in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, one God, Christ is risen. Amen. I greet you, brothers and sisters, on this the fourth Sunday after Pasca. Today we remember the beautiful account of our savior saving the Samaritan woman for tiny and I'd like to begin my reflections on the life of P tinny by mentioning few developments that took place in our nation this week. It seems these days that hardly a week can go by in American history without some sort of bizarre scandal of a national level. This week it began with our vice president opening his mouth about a subject of which he knows nothing and deciding that he would, in a public interview, endorse same sex marriage, homosexual marriage. I thought it was quite telling when he was asked how he came to this ethical and philosophical change. Remember, the man's a Catholic, and he informed us, as was only too precious from my ears to hear, that he really came, became comfortable with this major alteration of every religious and civilizations tradition on marriage, by watching a TV show called will and grace. Now, forgive me, I try not, I try...

...not to be ignorant, but I have never seen will and grace and I do not know what will and grace is I think there have to be some ignorances that parishioners can be happy their priest has. But I get that the idea that there were some gay couple married on that show. Have I not long been telling you, brothers and sisters, that the great heretic of the age is patriarch Tele a surnamed vision? Have I not often warned you that the great catechetical center of the evil one is Hollywood? In fact, if I could not have a better example that, on the one of the most pressing moral issues of our time, a man who is the second in authority in our nation is articulating to us that he got comfortable with this ethical revolution by watching television. Believe me, if it's happening to him, it can happen to your children, and it will. Do not be foolish, do not allow yourself to be mesmerized by the great cyclops of our age, the one eyed God, the blue screen and turn you into some sort of Jelly Bean, some sort of backboneless creature. This is what the great one, I'd God, does. But the week didn't stop there. It got better, even or worse, because then our own president, someone that we Orthodox Christians love to revere. We want to respect and honor every president of the United States. We know the importance, as Orthodox Christians, of authority. We honor that sacred office, the highest office in our land, and it grieves us when we see or hear something from a president that is outside the purview of the presidency. and to see President Obama also take up this subject and announced that he himself has come to his final position of endorsing gay marriage was very grievous for me to hear. Of course, we all knew he was supported. We've known this by his actions for many years. But I was happy that he didn't say it. I was really happy. I didn't want him to say but now that he said it, I was grieved, especially because both of these men profess to be Christians and we should give them the benefit of the doubt and honor that. One a Catholic and another part of the Black Church, and neither of their churches teach this. So what you see here, whether their president or vice president or not, is something that we should never allow ourselves to do, and that is become smarter than our own churches, become the moral teachers of those that are in authority over...

...us. How Sad, how sad we are being led by politicians who are smarter than their own church leaders. Didn't stop there, though, this week it continued. It continued when a man, quite an articulate man, who runs a nonprofit organization that specializes in helping people develop broad tolerance and not be works against bullying in the schools. This man is quite famous. His organization is endorsed by the White House on their website. This man this week decided that in an assembly at a public school, he would attack Christianity head on. He started his assembly by saying words that I cannot repeat actually in the church in front of you, but he said the first thing we have to know is that what the Bible says about homosexuality is blank. And yes, you can imagine, I think, what he said. And he didn't stop there. He went on and on and on. The person who was so tolerant was providing a beautiful demonstration of the height of intolerance. He, who was preaching sympathy, was in fact being a nasty judge and attacking the most sacred book in the world and the heart of the faith of those who believe it. I was so happy, so pleased to see in the video of the of the presentation, many, many young persons get up and walk right out, not one or two. They got up, they picked up their bags, their books and they left. And I thought to myself, because I received quite a few comments from young people asking me, what did I think about that, and I said I thought it was beautiful. I said I only think there would be one thing more beautiful, only one, and that is if they got up and they held hands and they asked him to get out. Why should students have to get out of their own school? Ask this man to leave. You're offending us. You have no right to speak this way. Please leave. What would the principle say? Then he'd be on the spot. Do I stand with the kids and all of their parents and get rid of this man or not? This is one week now. I'm telling you all of this for a reason. This is the world in which we live, this is the world that we're called to Mesh with,...

...this is the world that Jesus loves and desire to redeem. This is our calling in our mission. Behind all of these statements are some very novel thoughts. Novel thoughts that this Gospel Text of the Samaritan woman explode, because these novel thoughts are not true and they're not authentic. Let me tell you what they mean. This man, Dan savage is his name, who was speaking so disrespectfully of our church and of the faith. He was very clear. He said these words monogamy is ridiculous. We were not wired to be faithful, we did not evolve for this. Monogamy puts tremendous strain on our marriages and is not natural. He advocates, in fact, that instead of asking men to be faithful, because supposedly they never have been, he says it was sixty years ago. It was sixty years ago when the idea of monogamy became serious and we began to ask our men to be faithful. I cry. I found that history fascinating. He says, instead of asking men to do what they cannot do, we should free women to also be like men, that it's natural for us to have many different sexual outlets. Now, my response to this is if base desire is natural and we should celebrate it, what about other things? How about violence? Now, men have often had a problem with violence. Does that mean that all men are murderers. All men love to kill people, and we should stop asking men to control themselves. How about lying? Is it not true that many, many, many people lie? Many men I know lie. It's true. We have temptations. This is mean that we should strike down all our laws that punish fraud and perjury and celebrate the desire we have to lie? How about all of the Commandments? How sad, how sad. So now take these thoughts and come with me to seek our to Jacobs well and to this beautiful interaction between Jesus and Photini. Remember what Faultinni was going through. Remember what had happened to her life, the poor woman. She had been searching for something to quench her thirst and she had not found it. She was seeking it in a man and she had gone through five and she was on her sixth. Now, Dan Savage might look at Photini and say rejoice, it's only natural. You are in fact the model of the future because you're doing what all the other men do. Anyway. It's not what Jesus said.

She had failed the monogamy test. No doubt, Jesus did not look at her and say be happy with your mess, even though you're miserable, tell yourself you're happy. That's not what he said. He certainly didn't say that you can't change. Instead, he came to her and in his love he touched the wound. He said go call your husband. He taught us that the way out of our mess is not to deny the unnatural perversity of it, but in fact to look at it in the face for what it is. And this is the great tragedy of what's happening in our country on this issue of marriage and its holiness and sexuality. If you take our brokenness and you affirm that it's natural instead of looking at it and acknowledging what it is for us in our brokenness, if you call it natural and, worse, give it the name marriage, which is to append something holy to it, you have called evil good and good evil and you have put your feet in the cement of sin and there will be no change, no possibility of change. Change comes when the wound is touched by the finger of Christ. Often this happened through our conscience or through the example of someone else, or through a religious leader. The religious leaders of the church are those who are tasked with upholding the morality of the church, not politicians. Jesus touched her in the womb and she said, well, I perceive that you're a prophet. He gave her an opportunity to respond. Well, and she acknowledged it. She didn't deny it. She was undone by it. She allowed Jesus to turn her gaze to herself and she said, I perceive that you're a prophet, and he told her. She said, I have no husband. He said you're right, you've had five and the one you're with right now is not your husband. Jesus was giving her a message. We're not calling this marriage. If Jesus would say, look six, when you're on number six, we're not going to give that the name marriage. What do you think he would have say if two men were there claiming to be married? No, he caused her to look and he revealed to her that which she couldn't speak, and she was so thrilled that when she went back to her village, what did she tell them? She said, come see a man who told me everything I have ever done. He did not tell everything she had had done, but he opened up her conscience. She he reoriented her whole being. So the no longer was she trying to hide her mass, but she was becoming in this process a disciple of his, and disciples of Jesus...

...are honest. They look at their mess and they acknowledge it to be what it is. They face the sin and they acknowledge it, and they can do that encouraged by the touch of Christ, because they know it's an acknowledgement unto salvation, not damnation. He's revealing it to heal it. He's bringing it to the surface so that it can be pushed aside, not so that it can be a weight upon their head. Human beings are not jens only or biology and circumstances. We know that when we sin we are not acting according to nature, that in fact we were fashioned in holiness and goodness, that when we came out of from the hand of God, we were we came out to be married, that it was this way from the beginning, and for this cause a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two will become one flesh. Marriage and holiness us from the beginning by God's creation. So when we ask, we are when we are asked by the Lord and those who serve him to return to this higher way of life. We're not being asked to do something impossible, we're not asking being asked to do something unnatural or that no men have ever done. We are being asked to do something that is in accord with our created nature. This is why it feels so good to do it. We're being asked to return to a more human way of life, and the fact that it can be done is witnessed by these faces all around you. I say this and there's about thirty of them, but one day there will be five hundred in here and not some white walls. Every one of these faces bear witness to the fact that Dan Savage is dead wrong, that the grace of God is more powerful than our sins, and that the Lord touches people and he brings us to a consciousness of our sins, not to condemn us. He didn't come to condemn us, he came to save us and to free us from condemning sins, death, dealing carnal desires, we call them in the liturgy of the presanctified gifts. Now what we need, brothers and sisters, is what Jesus gave to Fotini, honesty with saving, compassion, yes, he pointed a finger at her, and he does point fingers, but his finger is connected to a stroke. He points and he strokes. He Says No, my beloved, stop, my dear, come back to me, I'll save you. And this is what we have to give brothers and sisters, honestly, with saving, compassion, the finger with the uplifting stroke and the truth in love. There's a beautiful text, in my opinion. It...

...sums up the disposition we should have in these challenging times. It's from one Corinthian six versus six, versus nine and ten. Saint Paul says this. He says, beloved, do not be deceived. This is a subject about which many can be deceived, and he's telling us don't be deceived. Neither fornicaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor drunkards, nor thieves, nor the commatis will inherit the Kingdom of God. That's verse nine. He does not want us to be deceived about that. Don't think, no matter how many savages there are in your life telling you that unnatural behavior is normal and you ought not worry about it. Breaking the commandments of God leads to eternal destruction, and we ought not be deceived. And then he follows it up by saying this. So beautiful and such were some of you, but you were washed, you were justified, you were sanctified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of our God. Those two verses, brothers and sisters, give us a prism through which to know how to relate to our mess and to the mess in our culture. We do not justify it, we do not remove all the societal props known as laws, that help people do good. That is an act of hatred and the church will have nothing to do with that. But we don't point for judgment because we know we're all in the same pot. Who is without sin amongst us? None. We're all in a mess. The question is, will we honestly look at it and will we allow the saving compassion of Jesus to heal us, to raise us up above having a seventh and anth helps husband to he has come to redeem us. The harvest is plentiful. Don't think that in these times, these last ten years in our nation, when so such important big moral issues as marriage had become on the front of the burners of public discussion, I found it very interesting that in a recent articulation of religious data in America that the churches that grew the most in America in the last ten years were the Catholic Church and the Mormon Church. Who is speaking more clearly on this than they? I know of no one. The harvest is plentiful, the workers are few. Those who want to be saved. They know, when they hear a voice of a serpent whispering in their ears, that...

...this is okay. They don't trust it and they're looking for some place, someplace that will tell them the truth, that will guide them to victory, saving, compassion and love. We also we orthodox. We need to do the exactly the same thing. Be a refuge, a house of safety for the remnant who desires to be saved in a culture that appears bent on running against the commandments of God and over a cliff into the sea. God grant us to bear the message of our Savior, that photinis Bo she who had a sex man became literally equal to the apostles. She died a great martyr. She is the living witness that it's possible to rise above our mess and our sins by the grace of God, by the saving touch of Jesus on the wounds of our conscience, we can be saved. God grant that to all of us. Christ has risen. 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.

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