The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 11 months ago

Save Your Neighbor - Good Samaritan 2020

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Good Deeds: Cultivating a Life of Virtue  

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Now available at patristic nectar,Dudorg Patristic, nectur publications is pleased to present good deeds, cultivating life of virtue,a seven part lecture series. These lectures expound the place ofgood words, an the salvation of the Christian, the nature of virtues andvices, and the traditional means for ultivating virtue in the Christian Life Saint John of Damascus, miss text onthe virtues and the vices in the Phelocalean rights that every man issaid to be made in the likeness of God. As regards his imitation of God, nevirtues, nodlike actions, the study and cultivation of virtue isthe quest both to love, nod and M, also to become a true human being. The lectured titles include lecture one good deeds, understandingvirtues and vices lecture too. The Cardinal Virtue ofJustice Lecture Three, the Cardinal Virtue ofWisdom, lecture for the Cardinal Virtue ofcourage, Lecture Five, the Cardinal Virtue oftemperance lecture, six honquering, the sevendeadly sins lecture; seven after God, the failureof the secular ethic for these and other available titles.Please visit our website, anpatristic Nemter, not or and now the arena with Father JesiahTrena, the name of the father and of the sonand of the Holy Spirit, a blessed Lord's Tay. To all of you and a very happy greeting we make to the beginningof the fast. What a wonderful month November is notjust because we start today on the fifteent to enter into the advent fast,and we begin to feel this growing momentum to reflect deeply again uponthe miracle of Christmas, not just because it holds the mostvaluable of all the civil feast days in our nation, which is the celebration ofThanksgiving, but even more because it's the month inwhich we celebrate our paternal feast for Saint Andrew on the thirtieth ofNovember are patron. Saint will have his great feastand we will celebrate wholeheartedly,...

...as we always do to celebrate. Yourpaternal feast is basic love and appreciation for yourpatron. The church calls every church'spaternal fees, the second POSKA. That's how we look at it. Some of you are new to the church andyou're new to knowing what it means to have. A patron you've been developing relationship with sint Andrew Learningto pray to him learning to meditate upon his life. Thinking about imitatinghim how to be like him how to appreciatehis constant intercessions for us how to find yourself comfortable and deeplyattached to that shrine. There know this also dear ones, especiallyyouth who are learning this, don't miss the patrennal feast of this parish orof any Paris that you're a member of I'm tempted to say. If you want to knowwhat loser behavior is loser. Behavior is not celebrating theFeast of your own Church's Patronsa. That's like Orthodox loser behavior. What a great month and also on top of that November isalso the month in which we find the feast of our father among the SaintJohn Cresostan, the archibishop of Constantinople, so dear to us, we even have a chapel dedicated to himjust next door, just to the south there or to the north. Rather, we celebrated his feast. This last week,vigorously was only two days ago on on Friday and at the end of the litergy. Ican't remember exactly what I was saying, but Protodeacon came up to meand said father. You should tell explain to the people who are here whySaint Andrew Church is so dedicated to Saint John Frersostam, and I thought tomyself. You know what you're right about that. Many of the people who are at the feasthave have come to the church in the last ten years or so or fifteen, andyou don't know the history of our parish and you may be wondering why dowe have a chapel dedicated to Saint John Cris Austin? Why do we dedicateour catechetical school to Saint John Chris Aston? why Di we celebrate hisfeet so vigorously? Well, there is a little history about that. I like totell you about it. Saint Jon Crasostam was very importantin my own conversion to Holy Orthodoxy. As most of you know, I was raised aPresbyterian and Presbyterians love the scriptures and they love preaching and when I was first engaging holyOrthodoxy which took place through the gracious outreach of my brother in law.Doctor John Kristy, who happens to be here to day from New York visiting Doctor John and his lovely wife. Naudia,...

...were the first ones who really engagedme as an adult about Orthodox Christianity, and I hope you'll have anopportunity to greet them and see them after the litergy today. But I was veryconcerned as a Presbyterian. I was very concerned if these Orthodox Christianstook the Bible seriously. Where is there a rock that I can climbunder? So I began to read Saint John Crisostumand I learned very quickly in reading the works of Saint John Crisostan, thatnon? Not only do Orthodox Christians take the scripture seriously, they takeit and he took it more seriously than I had ever seen in my life. The man words as a reason. We call himChrysostomos Right Golden Mouth Tomahis mouth, it's because he opened his mouth andoutflew outflowed the holy scriptures when he was a young man. He went toMountsilpius and he spent six years in utter seclusion. In a cave when the sunwas up, he was doing one thing: reading the Holy Scriptures and memorizing them,and when the sun went down, he did one thing, pray and hold vigil and try notto sleep and for six years he didn't allow himself to lay flat. He tiedhimself to a Hook, an put a rope around his way, so that the few hours of sleepthat he had to consent to give he would do in an upright position. That is the foundation from which thisgreat saying Tho is the greatest preacher in the history of the churchestablished his heart in God and in the presence of God through his holy wordand then sermon after sermon, he was able to guide the people. Hafe got intothe truth because of the reservoir of holy scripture that he had cultivatedin himself. I learned that very quickly. I fell absolutely in love with SaintJohn crisostem and I went on pilgrimages when I found out that his holy relics are still in thepossession of the church that his right hand, Thad blest. So many in his earthly lifehas continued to bless people and it's a precious relic at the holy and greatmonastery of philofeo Unknown Athos. His head that very head that guided the peopleof God and have for sixteen centuries is the precious relic at the holyandgreat monastery of Botopethy and is a matter of fact that head still has its right ear attached to itsskull. The Ear that Sait Paul the Apostle many times appeared to SaintJon, Cris Osamand whispered into his ear. Helping him solve difficult,theological controversies as Saint John was writing commentaries on hisepistles call me doubting Thomas. We have a pomise, but he's not adoubter...

...call me doubting Thomas. When I went toMountaphos and venerated sint John crisostems school. They have a. Theyhad the skull in a beautiful reliquary so that you could open the top and kissthe golden part of his skull on the top. But in his case they also had a sidedoor, so you could open it and see his ear. So the monk who was in charge ofthe relics for the pilgrims opened both and I looked in that little side door. I looked around and then I stuck myfinger right in his ear I started pulling on. Is that real? Isit? Could it really be? It's usually the first thing that falls off when youdie, but not in the case of Saint Jon Cressostam. The monk began to laugh atme and he told Me Stop Rostovro give meyour cross, so I took my cross off and I gave it to him and that night, whenhe put the relics away, he tucked Mik my neck cross, my baptist mccross,which I still wear into that door in the ear and he kept it overnight andthe next day when I came back from Orthos, he got it out and he gave it tome so my cross could spend the night with the ear of Saint John Cris Ostin. It was wonderful. I conceived after that pilgrimage theidea that if I was going to be anything as a priest I needed, I need a timewith Sait John Chris Ostam and his writings. You know his Corpus isthe largest of any of the fathers in the Greek language. It's comparableonly to the Corpus of Saint Augustine and Latin in the West. That's howprolific the preaching and the teaching of Saint Jon Crisostam was at any timewhen he was preaching there would be two or three stonographers in thecongregation professiona AL tenographers writing down his sermons.This is how we have them, because he didn't preach from notes. He made morethan eleven thousand references to the Old Testament by memory and more thanseven thousand to the New Testament by memory, just in the extent servons thatwe have- and we have that all through the sonographers who would turn intheir work to him. He would edit it and then it would be published, that's howwe got his work. I decided that I wanted to do this andso in on thousand nine hundred andninety seven, I wrote to ourmetropolitan, who was at that time, Metropolitan Philip Seliba godressedhis soul, and I told Him my vision that I had been a priest for four or fiveyears and I wanted to I wante time. I wanted to go study and do a Dud doctr Al Work on snt Jon,Cris Ostam. He wrote back and he said I think it's a great idea. He promised to pray for me. He gave mehis blessing. I made application for a grant andreceived it, and I was this far from purchasing theplaine tickets to take my family, which at that time I think there were four ofus for children. Take my family to across the seas. To England. Until I received the phone call was aWednesday and the phone call came from, or at that time, local Bishop Fishop,Joseph of Los Angeles and Bishop Joseph...

...said to me, Father Josiah. How are youtoday? I said I'm fine your grace and he said you will be with me inRiverside on Sunday and before I could say anything, click that was it. That was it I had never bubeen to riverside. I lit grew up and pass it in. As you know, I would drivethrough Riverside sometimes on the way to Palm Springs, but I didn't knowanything about Riverside. I had some knowledge of our founding pastor,father, Paul Finley, who served this parish for four and a half years andlaid such a beautiful foundation from here from ninety two until ninety seven, I knew a little bit about him, and so,when I showed up and that first litergy in the Holy Warehouse Bishop Josephintroduced me to our smart small group at that time, and he said this isfather, Josiah you're going to be seeing a lot more of him. I assumed at that moment that I was notgoing to go study with Saint Junk Byt, St John Cris Ostem in England anymore.It was quite clear and in fact that's exactly what happened I was assignedhere, thank God on May the first. On thousand nine hundred and ninety eight,but I didn't give up my idea, I wrote to my professor in England, andI said: Look this is what's happened. Is there any way that we could continueour work if I could get a blessing to travel regularly out there I'll? I hadthe contents of my dissertation that I wanted to write. I presented them tothe professor in England. He accepted that and we agreed to do one chapter ayear over the course of six or seven years, and I would travel out there.Every year, spend two weeks interact with him, defend that chapter, get hisideas on the next chapter and then continue with the promise that I wouldtake a chunk of time, a Sabatical at the end and go there to finish thedissertation and so over the course of those years. This parish labored withme- and I say that because you agreed to leave me alone from nine until noonevery day. I did nothing but studied Saint Jon, Cris Ostam over the courseof almost seven years and then at the end you did something even more lovingand more a greater investment. You allowed me to go, and in the year twothousand and three I took my family at that time. There were seven childrenand we went and we spend a second spent, the second half of two of two thousandand three in England. We would call back, we missed this parish terribly.At that time we had a wonderful retired priest, Father Stephen Hardy, a most beloved priest who agreed,though he was dying of cancer. He agreed to Sirve vespers Orthros inLidurgy every weekend and to teach a Bible study every Wednesday nightduring all the months of my absence and to sheperd and take care of this parish.In my absence with the help of Deacony Lee, and then we would call back N on aland line into the hall, which is where...

...we were praying at the time every month and we would catch up byway of microphones, and this is before facetime and all that kind of thing. So, brothers and sisters, this is thereality. This is why Saint John Crysostum is so important to us. Thisis why he's always been at the forefront of our discussions aboutevangelization, for instance. This is why our chatachetacal school is namedfor him. This is why we have a chapel dedicated to him and celebrate his feetso vigorously here you shared with me in this devotion to him and he is been guiding us in many ways. In fact, today we are going to enroll, just after Ifinish my homily another catacuman. This will be ourforty first katacuman being enrolled into this class. I'm very thankful for this, because Saint John Cris Ostam has taught me andhas also taught you to be very thirsty for people. This is why our chatechetical school isdedicated to him. Do you know how thirsty he was brothers and sisterswhen he was exiled by a godless empress in four hundred and four he was exiled, just as he wascompleting the preparation of his catatumans Coul be received on holySaturday to be baptized on holy Saturday and the empress convinced her weakhusband, the Emperor Arcodius, to send the soldiers down to the Cathedralwhere Saint Jon Cresostan was preparing the catecumans for baptism and todisrupt the baptism, and they did go down to the to the baptistry inConstantinople and Stopp the baptism and they even beat up a number of thecatacumans and some of the catacumans had to even flee. The historians saidpeople catacuments were fleeing naked in the streets because they haddisrobed to get baptized, but the soldiers drove them out. They SOM saidthere was even blood in the font. Do you know how many people Saein JohnCrisastem was baptizing that year, three thousand three thousand the man was thirsty. Itwas another pentecost and years before that and years after that. Also, this is why Saint John Cresosta means so much to us.Brothers and sisters. He's had a deep impact, not just on your pastor but onyour lives and you've labored with me to be his disciples and to be hisstudents and to learn from him. It just so happens that this day is...

...the Sunday of the Good Samaritan inwhich we read the gospel of the Good Samaritan, which you just heard, and the Good Samaritan is an incrediblepicture of how thirsty God himself is for every man, especially for those whoare downtrodden, abused, mugged, molested, half dead. It sets the scene. I think this Gospel for us to discuss this question ofGod's thirst and especially the importance that Jesus places upon us,his people, saving our neighbors. In fact, that's what I'd like to titlethis homily saving your neighbor, because that is exactly what the goodsamerican teaching is about. The man who had gone down from Jerusalem to Jerico and fallenamong thieves. There's a number of interpreted linesthat the holy fathers used to describe this parable. Some of the fathersdescribe it as a picture of Adam and Eve being casfed out of Paradise. Thisis the move from Jerusalem to Jerica. By the way, Jericho is the lowest cityin the world, seven hundred and fifty or so feetbelow sea level. Jerusalem is the image of Paradise.This is, in fact, how God describes the New Heavens in the new earth as a newJerusalem, and the journey of this man is a picture. Some of the fathers sayof Adam who was fashioned in Jerusalem, but cast out by his sins, going down toJerusalem and then being stripped of the raiment of the Holy Spirit and thenearness of God becoming vulnerable to the thieves. The mugghers, whom the father say, are the demons who beat us up, mall US and leave us half dead, indbleeding on the road Christ comes. Who is the good Sumeritan he attends to our wounds? He bows verylow to pick us up, putting us on his own body, carrying usto the INN, which is the church pouring on wine and oil, which are the holymysteries, giving to pence to the innkeepers, who are the spiritualfathers of the church who have watched the pastors, who have watch over thepeople's souls and then promises to return, which is a promise of the GreatSecond Coming of Christ. Some of the fathers say in a littledifferent interpretofe line that this is a picture of every individual soul,not just Adam and ive, but of every individual soul, and also that this Gospel shows thecall of the church to identify with and care for, thededown trodden for all those who are in...

...need, which is the point of the parable.Who is our neighbor everyone near us in our circle ofinfluence? That is in need the thieves we can see in our current time. There'sa literal application, usually priests when they point out the thieves in theGospel point out what the fathers do that these are pictures of the demons,but in our own culture we can. We can relate to the mugging of this, this poor man, because there's so muchgoing on so much violence in the streets. People have been mugged lastnight, if you watched any of the news, therewere horrible riots and fighting on the streets of Washington DC at theconclusion of a rally fom, the president, in which Antifa and socalled proud boys and many other people were literally just tearing each peopleto part each tearing each other. Apart on the streets, many innocent people being wounded andabused, so we can see the need for a literal application and the need for corporal works ofmercy. Saint Jon Cresastan was certainly dedicated to that. You knowone of the reasons that he was thrown out. One of the reasons that he was thrownout of his sea as Archbishop of Constantinopl was because of hisradical commitment to corporal works of mercy when he moved into the episcopalresidence. He found that full of precious marbles that his predecessor,who had been a very influential senator and wasn't even a clergyman when he wascalled to become arts. Bishop, his predecessor, Nectorios harshbishopmcdaralds, had taken all of these aprecious marbles and hidden them in the chanceryfor use and stored them there for the use of the building of churches. WhenChris Asta moved there, he said, sell them all and build hospitals, and that's exactlywhat he did. His commitment to corporal acts ofmercy went all the way back to the time he was a deacon when he was in chargeof charity in the Church of Antioch through his writings. We know that whenhe was a deacon, he oversaw the care of over three thousand widows and orphansin Antioch. That was his life matter fact. He describes the life of abriest, he said had more peace than when he was a deacon, because he was constantly day in andday out in the fick of it. Helping people who were in terrible needtangible need. He built hospitals and the final Strawwas when he defended a widow's land from being seized by the empress. Shecouldn't take it anymore. That was the last straw that led to his exile. Soour commitment to corporal acts of...

...mercy to noticing those who are physically in need nearus and not being too selfish, to invest ourselves like that priest and theLevite in this Gospel text. That's abvious on the text, but Chris astem points something elseout. He says even more important than corporal acts of mercy are spiritual.Works of mercy are caring for people who are downtrodden and beaten, and bleeding spiritually, even more than physically people who are who have been literallycalfed away from the truth, deceived propagandized people who have beenfilled with all manner of nonsense and confusion and have lost their way. They've lost their peace, they've losttheir sense of stability. Their sense of their being a future at all brothersand sisters are neighbors, are deeply confused more confused thanthey have ever been in our lifetimes. Don't project, don't make the mistakeof projecting your life onto the community to be an Orthodox Christian in thesevery difficult days is one of is the greatest blessing in our lives. Itprovides us the security and confidence every day to live, knowing that JesusChrist is the same. Yesterday to day, and for ever that man may rage, but Jesus is on the throne of Heaven, but many people don't know that many people and some people who knewthat lightly had been drawn away and taken from the church. I don't know if you saw the news thisweek as a picture of how confused we are in San Diego County, which is just likeRiverside County going backwards in the governor's scheme of how to address thecoronavirus. They've just gone back to purple, as we did some time ago, whichmeans that the county is supposed to lock down churches again and ban allindoor worship. Just like is the case here in our county right now that weobviously are by conviction of faith and the US Constitution are not obeying Superior Court judge in San Diegoissued a ruling rebuking the governor as overreach, but he didn't do it onbehalf of churches. He did it on behalf of Strip clubs. He said he ruled that the governor hadoverstepped his bounds and that it was a violation of the freedom...

...of the Strip club owners to have theirstrip clubs closed. During this moving back to purple, and so he put thegovernor's order on stay, I never thought that I would ever say that Iwas happy that the Strip clubs are open H. can you imagine how lost we are brothers and sisters how confused we are? No, we must. We must be the Good Samaritan to our neighbors. We must hold forth the truth in times of darkness. We have to liftup the light. I want to end my homily by giving youthree direct guidelines from the words of Saint John Chris Ostim in hiscommenting about the Good Samaritan and how to do this. How do we actually saveour neighbor from spiritual confusion and darkness? Saint John Never wrote a commentary onSaint Luke's Gospel, so you can't find in his corpuse. His commentary on SaintLucan just go to it, but he did reflect the number of times in his writingsupon the good Sumaritan once in his commentary on Sint Matthew, once atleast that I know of and his most extensive reflection is ina series of sermons that he preached as a priest called against judiizing Christians.These were Christians, who were comproising their faith. They weretrying to mix Jewish practices, which Christians have left theside sincethose have been fulfilled in Chrife than in the church. Certain Christians were being verytempted by the very powerful Jewish community in Antioch at the time, andthey were leaving people to celebrate Jewish feasts and to fast with the Jewsand attend the synagogue, while still claiming to be Christians. He saw thisas a complete spiritual fall and he wrote a number of sermons aboutit about how destructive heresy is more thananything else to be wounded by false belief is the most dangerous wound toreceive, and he gives this kind of counsel about what to do. The first point iscaring, for the spiritual needs of our neighbor is the responsibility of everysingle Christian and not the priests. Listen to what he says. Let us notoverlook such a tragedy as this unbelief. Let us not hurry past, sopitiable a site without taking pity...

...even of others do not. You must not donot say to yourself. I am not a priest. I am not a monk. I have a wife andchildren. This is the work for the priests. This is the work for the monks,chrysistem comments. The Samaritan did not say where are the priests now, where are the Pharisees? Now, where arethe teachers of the Jews, but the Samaritan is like a man who found somegreat store of booty and gold and got the prophet. Therefore, when you seesomeone in need of treatment for some ailment of the body or the soul, don'tsay to yourself: Why did so and so or so, and so not take care of him? You free him from his sickness. Do not demand an accounting from othersfor their own negligence. Tell me this: If you find a gold coin lying on theground, do you say to yourself? Why didn't so and so pick it up, do not rush to snatch it up before. Doyou not rush to snatch it up before someone else does think the same wayabout your fallen brothers? Consider that tending his wounds is like findinga treasure if you pour the word of instruction on his Worns like oil, ifyou bind them up with your mildness and you cure them with your patience, yourwounded brother has made you a richer man than any treasure could no fasting. This is the important sincewe're starting the fast today, no fasting, no sleeping on the ground,no watching and praying in vigil all night, nor anything else can do as muchfor you as saving your brother can accomplish. That's point one. It's all our jobs number two caring for the spiritualneeds of our neighbor is the goal of the Fast Chrisistem writes this. He says thefast will profit us nothing if we pass through it as a mere matter, of course,without any tangible result. If I promise you a piece of gold, youwould labour for the reform of your brother, but God has promised you muchmore, so don't neglect your neighbor's safety. For this reason it is that weare placed with one another that we inhabit cities together, that we meettogether in our churches. In order that we might bear one another's burdens andmight correct one another's sins, you see the thick sense of community and mutual responsibilityin fellowship. That chrysistem has his idea of Kinonia. Is that fake were notindividuals...

...were deeply attached? You know that proverb give a man a fish and you feed him fora day. Teach him how to fish and he'll eat the reft of his life. It's abeautiful proverb. I think it's African I like that, but we could even deepenit. We could say this feed a man for a day and you aid his temporal body,bring a man to Christ and the church, and you feed his soul for eternity. Bring a person to the Church and Christgives him all the tools he needs to. Adet address his own greatest yearnings,his own greatest needs bring such a man to the Church andChrist will feed his soul. He'll also provide him with a family to love himand help to care for him, some one to challenge him, someone toencourage him to love him body and soul. That is eternal life. Lastly, Chryssistem says you're going to have to sigh and getyour hands dirty. This is number three from Chris Esten. He quotes the Prophet job, he said,even if you say I don't have any money to help. I don't have any wisdom toshare. I don't have any patience to put up with this person. He said you couldalways do something give what you can and then he quotes jobe and he said jobsaid. Did I not sigh when I saw my brother in need? Did I not grieve in myheart when I saw a man downcast, it's joled, thirty, it's a beautiful word.If you can't do anything at least notice at least igh in your spirit at leastgrieve in your inner man for the darkness and be willing to get dirty. Here's hisword go and put a stop to the evil. has there ever been a time in your life when that is more relevant when evil is growing at such a pace inour own society? When so, many of even our own Orthodoxpeople, and especially our young people, are being seduced by the lies of thedevil and propagandied into Unchristian, thinking and living about the most basic things go and put a stop to the evil, pull outthose that are drowning, even though they descend into the very depth of thesurge and having broken up the theatere of the devil. Take each one of themapart and admonish them to quell the flame and to lull. The waves...

...pull your neighbor from drowning, even though you maydescend into the very depths yourselfs. You know the Lord told the Pharisees tohelp even a man whose ass fell into a ditch to get in there with him and getit out how much more his soul, saving our neighbor brothers andsisters is the call of this Gospel and Saint Jon Cresostem is our guide. May The Lord help us to put a stop to the evil, to care enough about those who are downcast andbleeding to help him omen? We hope that you have enjoyed and havebeen edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar,Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourrishing thespiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. If you are interested in otheravailable titles or if you would like more information on patristic nectarpublications, please visit our website at www, not patristic, nectar, dot, Org.Again, that's www dot, patristic nectar, Godol.

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