The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 9 months ago

So Great a Salvation - 2nd Sunday of Great Lent

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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present a new five lecture series entitled ContemporaryWomen 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 andlead us to the virtue of humility and compunction. Contemporary Saints are particularly importantsince they acquire their love for God and holiness in the midst of our currentmilieu 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 Zaniaof Saint Petersburg. Lecture number two the life of Saint Elizabeth, the newmartyr. Lecture number three the life of Saint Maria of Paris. Lecture numberfour the life of Saint Metrona of Moscow. Lecture number five the lives of motherMaria of Olonettes, Schema Num Macaria, the beloved cepher, and Matushka Olgaof Alaska. For the he's and other available titles, please visit ourwebsite at atristic nectar got org and now the arena with Father Josiah Trenna andthe name of the father and the son and the Holy Spirit. What awonderful day. This is the second Sunday of great lent, This Day inwhich we celebrate, Ifrom the language of the Epistole lescent, so great asalvation. You no doubt we're very happy. Last week with the Sunday of Orthodoxy. Who Doesn't Love The Sunday of Orthodoxy, when we uphold so beautifullythe glory of the faith that saves us? We confess in the Sunday of Orthodoxythat salvation comes by faith, and the true faith, not a madeup faith, not a heretical faith. Truth is Christ. He said ithimself. I am the Truth and Truth Saves Heresy Saves no one. Falsehoodand error saves no one. And we proclaim that the first chance we havein great lent, on the first Sunday of lent today, the Feast ofseeing Gregory Paula Moss. Today the church answers the question what exactly is thissalvation that you get by the faith? If you have faith in God andyou put your faith in Christ, then you're saved. What does that mean? What does it mean to be saved?...

This is a fantastic question and it'sanswered today. First, the incredible epistle lescent, the epistle to theHebrews, where St Paul is developing this magnificent teaching about how supremely glorious Jesusis. He's above the prophets, he's above the angels and he goes onand on to show that Christ this supreme. In the text that you heard thismorning he explains that. Look, he talks about the subject we're addressing, salvation. He says, if the salvation that was given to the peopleof God in the Old Testament, when God spoke from the Mountain Sinai andgave them the old covenant, the sacred in Commandments, if that salvation,if that grace, if that gift was so serious that every infraction, hesays was had its own punishment, how, he says, shall we escape ifwe neglect so great a salvation that has been given to us in Christ? Jesus is so what and what he's accomplished is so much greater than Mosesand the salvation that was given to the Church on the top of SID andI. Although there were hints of what Jesus was going to bring to pass. The most obvious hint on the top of sin I, was what happenedto Moses his face, when his face began to radiate the glory of Godfrom being in a face to face communion with God. This was a hintof the salvation that was going to be offered to the whole world. Butwhat was given on sign I was the law, a great gift from Godto reveal his will, but a gift that in fact didn't save us.It guided us to the right way, but it didn't empower us to accomplishit. When you think of the law, you think of moral instructions, andyou should in the Gospel today the definition of salvation, which certainly beginswith the law. Remember the rich young man who came to Jesus and saidwhat should I do to be saved? and Jesus looked at the man andsaid, you know, the Ten Commandments, follow those. That's where it starts. That's where all our catechumans are right now. The whole purpose ofcatechism is to begin the process of purification, to put yourself to move yourself onto the path of the commandments of God, which is a light foryour feet that guides you right to God himself. That's where it starts.But Salvation is oh so much more than that, brothers and sister, andtoday you see in the Gospel text just that salvation involves the redemption of thehuman person from death and from sickness.

That poor man, the paralytic,paralyzed, and his brothers, his friends, loved him so much that his war, his weakness, his sickness, was theirs. That's true friendship.We could give a a homily tift on friendship from this Gospel. It's somagnificent for friends who were so worried about their compatriot and his lack of health, hit the trial of his paralysis, that they set aside everything in theirlife and they made getting him healed their priority. And they took him andthey put them on their shoulders on a mat and they tried to get himto Jesus, but Jesus was surrounded by so many people they couldn't make it. They had no access to him. So what did they do? Theyclimbed up onto the house where he was preaching and they literally dug through theroof and lowered their friend down. That must have been a sight to see. How do you do that? How do you do that? They loweredhim down and Jesus looked at them and, honoring the faith of the friends,healed the man. But be shocked at how he did it. Thewhole concern of the Pericopian the Gospel is the man's physical healing and certainly partof the salvation that Jesus brings, as is obvious from the text, isphysical healing. Part of being saved means being delivered from sickness, having thosethings which torment US physically healed. We all want this, we all needthis, we all hate to be physically tormented and there's no escaping it.The older we get, the more tormented we've become. So we're of courseextremely thrilled that Jesus is a healer of the body, and the body isvery important. You know, so many bogus concepts of salvation simply discard thebody. Simply say all the way to be saved is you just have toflee the body, you just have to die, then you're going to besaved. That's how even a lot of Christians talk about death, which iswhy we trample on funerals today. It's why many funerals are done without thebody even there. It says, though, finally we've been able to unshackle ourselvesfrom this prison house so that we don't have to have any of thetroubles that it causes us. Just so you know, there is not oneounce of Christianity and that mentality like literally not an ounce. That is pureGnosticism, the idea that somehow the real part of you that connects to Godis your soul and that's really you and your body. Of Jeff, youknow what the soul uses, and when he's done using it, book justthrows it away. Has Nothing to do...

...with Christianity at all. You dearones, are psycho somatic realities. Teeki, you have a soul and a soulmaa body, and that's what a human being is. That's what youare, which is why when we come to funerals, we come to funeralsto see our loved ones who are dead. When we kiss them, we're notkissing a corpse. How grievous to talk like that. I'm testy insaying it because my last funeral I heard someone in the line say it.Why are we kissing your corps. I'm like no, no, that's Charlie, that's George, that's Anna. It's not all of Charlie, George orAnna. It may not even be the best part. Will give that toyou, of Charlie, George and Anna, and it may not be the partthat Charlie, George or Anna's psyche or personality or consciousness is connected toafter death, but that is them and that will be raised, least healedand saved in the future, because that's what salvation is and Jesus demonstrates ittoday. He didn't disdain the man's paralysis, he healed it. Every aspect ofdeath in US he will heal. This is part of being saved.But look how much farther Jesus goes. He points out in describing this sogreat salvation, in manifesting it by his miracles, he points out that hisgreatest concern, his greatest gift to this man, was not the restoration ofhis bodily health. They thought, his friends thought, that that was thegreatest concern, which is why they asked for it. And then Jesus lookedat the man and he gave him what he really needed, an aspect ofsalvation even more desperately needed. Important and he looked at the man and hesaid, son, your sins are forgiven. You Sin. Nobody's talking about sinexcept Jesus. None of the friends had any thought about sin. ButJesus looked onto the interior of the man and he said this is the healinghe needs more than anything else. He needs to be released from his sins. And so Jesus forgave them on the spot, much to the scandal ofthe Pharisees, who didn't believe he was the son of God and therefore didn'thave authority or power to forgive. Jesus constantly scandalize them because everywhere he wenthe not only directly forgave sins, he didn't pray for the forgiveness of sins. He didn't say I'll ask my father to forgive you. He said yoursins are forgiven, as though Jesus himself was the one sinned against, becauseonly the one sinned against has the authority to release sins, and in facthe is the one sinned against, he is the son of God. Everysin that every human has ever committed is against God, the father and hisson, and the Holy Spirit the one true God. So this is athis is a further expanse in Jesus is...

...teaching, a further expense of howgreat salvation is. To use the language of the epistle. How great isit? It incorporates, yes, the renovation of your moral life, puttingyou on the path towards God. For sure, this is Moses. Itcertainly brings the healing of your body and everything that afflicts you that is theresult of death. But it also reinvolves the renovation of the interior. ManIt cures are interior problems, the fact that our will is bent, thatour soul is darkened, that our mind is confused, those are the mostimportant things. In fact, those things lead to the death of the body, and the salvation that Jesus offers US involves interior renovation, which you cansee from the Gospel. And I want to end by moving to the thirdcommemoration, not just the Epistle and the Gospel, but the COMM memoration ofSt Gregory Polymas, because saying Gregory Paulymos, perhaps more than any other saint inthe history of the church, speaks about how great the salvation that Godoffers us really is. St Gregory Paulyms was only added to this Sunday's commemorationrecently. And what what we Orthodox mean by reason as we mean by fivehundred years, very recently, very recently, of course. He lived in thefourteen century. He was this magnificent archbishop of Thessalonica, incredible theologian andAthonite, a practitioner of unceasing prayer and a great defender of Orthodoxy. He'scommemorated on this day not just because he has articulated the nature of salvation sobeautifully, but because he has he continues the celebration of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, because few fathers more than St Gregory paulymos fought heresy. He particularly foughtthe Latins, the Roman Catholics, at the time of his life in thefourteenth century, were attacking our very way of life. They were mocking us, they were saying that seeing the uncreated light is nonsense. They were attackingour monks and saying that the practice of your hezarchastic prayer is nonsense. Andsaying Gregory came to the defense of the church is life. And he wrotenine small tracts, three three small books, with three of small books in eachof them. Therefore, they're often published today and they're called the triads. And in these triads, these small treatises, were all defenses of whatsalvation is in our life, what can actually will, actually be accomplished bythe grace of God in our lives,...

...and was being experienced by saying Gregoryand by all Christians who are serious about connecting themselves to God and cultivating prayer. Saint Gregory, perhaps more than anyone else, wrote about how great asalvation Christ has accomplished for us. Now you'd be thinking, maybe, thinkingwhat? How much more is their father? The healing of my body of allsickness and disease, forgiveness of sins. I mean, that sounds pretty great. Interior renovation. What could you possibly mean? Well, I justhappened to have right here piece of paper where I wrote some notes answering thatquestion that I think maybe in your mind at this very moment. Going toread these quickly, all twenty five of them. Redemption from slavery, justificationbefore God, forgiveness of sins, healing of soul and body that we gotfrom the readings today. Let me add twenty one more. Deliverance from death, freedom and final stabilization of our free will so that in the future wenever misuse it. Unending and eternally increasing peace and joy, permanent confirmation inrighteousness, reconciliation with God, reconciliation with every human being that's ever been madeand reconciliation with all creation. Adoption into the family of God as sons anddaughters, the acquisition of an immeasurable and eternal inheritance, the acquisition of andcomplete permeation by the Holy Spirit, the elimination of fear, all threat andevery vulnerability in life. Can you imagine the ineradicable holiness, unending development inour conformity to God, unending, constant progress in conformity to God, whohas no end and therefore our conformity to him will have no end. PartakeKing of the divine nature, sharing in the glory of Christ. Remember theprayer that Jesus prayed in John Seventeen, his most famous prayer, where heasked the Lord to glorify us with him, with the glory that he had beforethe father, before he came from the father, his eternal glory.He's going to share it with us. Ultimate Oneness of God, with Godfather, I pray that they might be one with me as I am onewith you. He prayed. We're going to share in that intimate oneness,perpetual growth in the knowledge of the Lord...

God, purification, illumination and finaltheosis, transfiguration, deification, face to face, communion with God, forever, Friendship with God which never ends, all summarized in the words of eternallife. Yes, dear ones, that is salvation. So when someone asksyou, are you saved, the best answer is I trust I'm being saved. The best answer. A lot of those things have taken place already inyour life. A lot of them are just beginning now. They're like littlesaplings growing in your life. A lot remains in the future. Let metell you, brothers and sisters, this is Christianity. This is the sogreat of salvation that we should neglect, and that's the point of the epistle. If what Moses was offering was so good and so serious that to neglectit meant for every neglect there was a particular punishment. How shall we escape, Paul says, if we neglect so great a salvation that Jesus has accomplished? Can you imagine being offered all of those things by God, Jesus havingaccomplished them all for us. If we don't care what God thinks about that, if we don't care if we want to just use God for some betterearthly life, like so many preachers are proclaiming in our culture. Christianity andJesus is not some self help program so that you could become a better youand manage your money better. Who Cares about that stuff? It's nothing.This is the purpose that Christ came to redeem us for. This is yourfuture. I gotta interesting email this week. I get a lot of emails becauseof my Internet work, but thankfully I only have to see some ofthem. They'll come to Martha. Martha weeds him out for me, theones like she thinks I should see, and this one was very interesting.This wonderful man, I'll call him Steve. He's Steve but I won't say hislast name, and he says Dear Father, God bless you. Youcan tell he's a Protestant right there, by the way, but a verygodloving one. Right, very beautiful heart to give me his blessing. ButAnyway, I think it's the other way around. Anyway, this is whathe wrote. He goes. One of my sons recently recommended me to listento Jordan Peterson and through him, strangely enough, I started listening to youand I've been very blessed. I have so many questions on orthodoxy. Whatintrigues me most is the doctrine of theosis, as I have always thought that therehas to be more. There have...

...to be more. There is.There have to be more. He says those words in the Scriptures, partakersof the divine nature, those words it is no longer I that live,but Christ that lives in me. Those words Christ in me, the hopeof glory, etc. Etc. I'm convinced that sanctification is more than moralprogress and Orthodox he is teaching that there's an actual transformation of my entire beingthrough a real participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus. I see thatwhat I used to think is no longer the teaching of the Bible. Couldyou please is recommend a book for me, more than a book, my friendand experience and experience. This is our life, dear ones, thisis this is what God's calling us to. This is the so great a salvationthat's offered us. Perpetual and Eternal glory, the very glory of Godto live in his life. This is where we're going. This is whyI don't want you to doubt it and I don't want you to neglect it. Let's pursue it. I'm we hope that you have enjoyed and have beenedified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organizationcommitted 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 informationon patristic nectar publications, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dotorg. Again, that's www dot patristic nectar dot org.

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