The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 1 year ago

The Inheritance of God's Presence - Prodigal Son 2021

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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present a new five lecture series entitled Contemporary Women 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 and lead us to the virtue of humility and compunction. Contemporary Saints are particularly important since they acquire their love for God and holiness in the midst of our current milieu 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 Zania of Saint Petersburg. Lecture number two the life of Saint Elizabeth, the new martyr. Lecture number three the life of Saint Maria of Paris. Lecture number four the life of Saint Metrona of Moscow. Lecture number five the lives of mother Maria of Olonettes, Schema Num Macaria, the beloved cepher, and Matushka Olga of Alaska. For the these and other available titles, please visit our website at atristic nectar God Org. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trenna, the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. Blessed Lord's Day to all of you, brothers and sisters, on this marvelous Sunday of the prodigal son. Just before the liturgy began, we priests were thinking at the altar of about what a blessing it is to be God's son, to be God's children, though we're all prodigals, even we priests, to be clothed with such glory, to stand in the holy place and to be able to worship God like we're all doing. What a tremendous honor, the very greatest gift of our whole life to know God and to be in his house and to be a part of his family. The darker the world gets, at least our part of the world, the more precious what we have appears, the more we recognize it for how much it's worth to know God. Our poor country is been for so long on such a fast course into prodigality. This week, perhaps another major marker in the books of the prodigality of the United States of America. At our House of Representatives passed one of the most godless, anti church, anti religious pieces of legislation that's ever been presented to our Congress, completely attacking Christianity, attacking marriage, attacking humanity and endorsing an ideology that is brandnew, just made up very, very recently. And I thought to myself, those, those poor congressmen, that would pass by very narrow margin, and hopefully our senators will be more reasonable people and won't pass this. Some of those congressmen, some of those representatives, though, that passed it immediately followed it up by sending a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, to the FCC,...

...demanding that any news organization that would oppose it, including they named Fox News that I know some of you really love. Bet It, be banned permanently from the air waves. Yeah, can imagine, congressman, the land of the free, nothing like free speech. And I thought to myself, as it was all happening the week of the producal son. It's happening the week of the productal son. I hope that those four idiotic congressman who sent that letter to the FCC, and all of them that pass this bill, who have made themselves enemies of Christian Orthodoxy, I hope that they'll be in church soon. produigals do come back. People who have lost their minds do repent, especially if people are praying for them. People are awakened, they recognize that the path that they're on is not producing what they were hoping for and, by the grace of God, some of the biggest sinners and the biggest flubs become the greatest saints in the in the Church. On this prodigal son Sunday, brothers and sisters, I want to I want to remind you about an incredible experience of the Holy Prophet, Moses, the God seer. That's how I want to start my homily. Moses, when he found God, or I should say God found him, at the burning Bush, and he became the Lord's faithful son and Prophet and led the people of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt. He brought them through the Red Sea and that great miracle foreshadowing baptism, and he brought them into the Wilderness and God called them to Mount Sinai, and they're on the top of Mount Sinai. God met with Moses and the Scripture said he spoke. He loved Moses so much that he spoke to Moses as he would speak to his friend face to face. Moses was completely undone. While Moses was up being vafied on the mountain, hearing the word of God and receiving the Great Gift of the law, God's will that he was to bear down the mountain and to give as a gift to the people so that they could know how they should walk now that they were free. While Moses was up on the mountain, the people, though, they saw what was going on. They's heard the trumpets blasting on the top of the mountain, they saw the mountain shaking, they saw lightning flashes, which is really something. They grew weary. They grew weary they knew that God had promised them a land flowing with milk and honey. They knew that God wasn't bringing them out of slavery so that they would die in the wilderness. They had heard all these incredible promises that, six hundred years before, had been given to Abraham and his posterity, that God would give this promised land to them. They knew that, but they were growing impatient to receive their inheritance. They wanted it and they wanted it now. So when Moses was up being deified, they were growing impatient and they pressured air and Moses's brother and they said, where is all the promises that God had promised us? Here we are in the wilderness, we can't eat all of the great foods that we had in Egypt, there are no pleasures here in this devoted place. And now Moses where to go? Forty days he had...

...been up there, forty days. They were given up. Where was he? and Aaron, pressured and weak, gave into them. They said, we want you to make us a god, and he said, take off all of the gold ear rings, the very gold that was the treasure of their victory, they had plundered from the Egyptians. He said, take off all the gold, bring it to me and I will make you your gods. And what did he do? He took the gold and he made it fashion it into a golden calf, something that they were familiar seeing in each gypt, and then he presented to them the gold and he said you hold your Gods, who delivered you from Egypt. And it says that they began to rejoice and they began to rise up and dance and play. It's language for throw a very raucous and immoral party, and that's what they were doing as Moses was coming down. Moses was so upset that he took the tablets, the gift of God to them, part of their inheritance, and he smashed them. And then he took the golden calf and he crushed it into a powder, their golden statue, their idol, mixed it with water and made the people drink it. Then he ordered a execution of some of the ring leaders and had the Levites call the people to repentance. And he went up, back up the mountain, and he met with God again, and God said to him, Moses, just stand back, I'm done with this people and I will make your descendants fruitful and glorious. I'll keep my promise to Abraham, but instead of doing it through these people, I'll do it through you. And most of Said, Lord, don't do that, don't do that. What would people say you brought your people out of Egypt to kill them in the Wilderness? Here's Moses, like Abraham, the great negotiator with the Lord God, Abraham trying to say Sodom, Moses now trying to save the people of Israel and he did it successfully and Moses, enjoying so much being near God, he said to the Lord this after the Lord had consented to be patient with the people. Moses said, Lord, I really want to know you. I want to know you. Show me Your glory. And the Lord said to Moses, if you see my glory you'll die, he says, but I'll take you and I'll put you in this cleft of the wrath and I'll draw near to you in my glory and I'll pass by, but I'll cover you with my divine hand and then after I pass by, I'll pull my hand away and you can just see the back of my glory, the smallest part of my glory. And the Lord did that. And as the Lord was doing it he proclaimed his name to Moses. He showed him his glory and he told him his name and he said this the Lord, the Lord God, Compassionate and Merciful, long suffering forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, showing his covenant Mercies to thousands upon thousands of generations. This is what God said to Moses when Moses was so near God. What did God reveal to him in the midst of his people's complete prodigality. The Lord revealed to Moses his intimacy and he said, I am a god...

...of compassion and mercy, the God of lung suffering, who takes no delight in punishment, none at all. I am faithful and will be faithful to thousands of generations of my people. It was an incredible word to Moses. The people were impatient and their impatience, almost at this time, cost them their lives, almost cost them the loss of the Covenant and all of the privileges that they had with God. The presence of God and Moses his life was everything for him. It literally, for Moses, changed the desert of the Wilderness into complete paradise. God lived with him and he with God. Moses had his tent, a simple tent, but by the day, above that tent was a massive pillar of smoke and at night by that tent was a massive pillar of fire, God's signs of his own in presence. That's how close Moses was. Moses cherish the presence of God so much he made it such a priority in his life that he literally took on God's qualities, the glory that God has shown in Moses's face. He would come out of his communion with God, with a glowing face that then he would put a little covering over his head so people wouldn't see it dissipating. This is how precious the presence of God is. The Israelites kept thinking about sinful Egypt and the roughness, about how bad it was in the forests and in the deserts of the Wilderness. Nothing was good enough and without God's presence, brothers and sisters, nothing ever is. If we don't cherish the presence of God, like Moses, at the very center of our life, does it matter what we have? It's always unsatisfactory. It always leaves us feeling empty and unfulfilled lost. This is the background. I wish to share it with you on this prodigal son Sunday. With that in mind, look at the Gospel parable today, this marvelous parable found in Luke fifteen, where Jesus takes the experience of Moses and puts it into a parable for us all to see, the parabicle of the Prodigal son, or we could even say the parable of the Prodigal sons, because the self righteous son who never left was as prodigal as his brother who did leave, and squandered all his father's inheritance in loose living. Like Israel's prodigality, the younger son was not content with the presence of his father. It wasn't enough for him to be close to his father, and so he allowed his thirst and his desire for worldly things to possess him and he did the unspeakable and shameless thing that no son should ever do. He asked for his inheritance. What he basically was saying to his father was I wish you were dead, because that's when you're supposed to get your inheritance and because you're not dying, which would really make me happy, because if you were dead, I would get your money. Because you're not dying. Could you just give it me now and I'll leave. I'll never see you again. I don't have to deal with you, I don't have to deal with the family, I just get the money and I can just please myself. That's exactly what happened. He took that money, just like the whining Israelites of old, pining after the things of Egypt, and he went and he wafted his father's inheritance. And what was the result? Complete and total...

...decimation. He was ruined from top to bottom, friendless, pleasure less, literally thirsting to eat pigs food, until he came to himself. By the way, those are the four most precious words in the entire Gospel lesson. He came to himself. He came to himself and he ran back and, in the power of repentance, because of the graciousness of God, he declared his unworthiness before his father. His father ran to meet him, set not a word about what he had done, offered him the most glorious free forgiveness and restored to him his position, clothing him in a beautiful purple robe, putting shoes on his feet, a gold ring on his finger and slaying the fatted calf and striking up the wedding feast party for his son that was lost, who had become dead. My son, who was dead, is alive again and he rejoiced. The other son, the selfrighteous on, who never left but was never there in the first place, was so angry that his father had been so gracious. Here he was, all the time, physically near his father, but not hit near his father in the heart. This is just as much a warning to us, brothers and sisters. Of course, the product was son most popular. Is a warning for all believers in the church, all those who have been baptized and made sons and daughters of God, not to fall away and to run to the world to promise what you'll get if you do a pig pen and misery. But there's also a warning from the self righteous son. The warning is don't be in the church, near God and the presence of God and not really be here. Don't stand in the presence of God and not really appreciate what you're doing here and how glorious it is to be in God's presence. That was the problem of the self righteous son. His father looked at him, he said, son, What's wrong? You're always with me. Do you need more? You're always with me. Everything I have is yours. But he wasn't enjoying that. He wasn't standing near his father to be in his father's presence, and therefore he didn't enjoy it and he didn't benefit from it. And we ought not stand in the church except to be in the presence of God and to cherish that kind of intimacy, being invited by our heavenly father into his house, us to sit at his table, to be close to him, to be a friend like Moses was, to see his glory and to participate in his character and to actually become it. This is why we're here, you know. We all know this. On the human plane, I remember when I was first married, my wife and I were pretty radical to get married very young. No one, none of our friends yet were married and we had really established ourselves. We had established our souls, though, but we hadn't established ourselves kind of out in the world. We we were both hard workers. We were working, but we didn't have much. If it wasn't for the very gracious gift giving of the people who came to our wedding, who gave us doubles and triples of things, and we were secretly able to return many of them for cash, we would have been absolutely broke. We paid our first three months of rent in our apartment with return gifts from the wedding. I'm sure they weren't ears, I'm sure they weren't yours. And...

...if you were there, we were poor and we used to have our dates, we all us. We have had our date night every week. We've had a date night for thirty three years. But back then, you know what our date night was one cup of coffee that we shared while we walked. We would go to the coffee house, we would get a large cup of coffee and then our date was walking downtown, walking, looking at stoor windows, drinking that coffee. That's what it was. Did I care? Are you kidding me? I was the most wealthy man on planet earth because of the presence of my wife. That's how I felt. I'm rich, may not have a car. Who Need's a car? That's how I felt. We know this on the human plane. You know it, dear one. It's the presence that is central. It's being mere God that makes us rich. It is true that we have an inheritance, and I want to say a word about that enclosing. We do have an inheritance. God does make has made incredible promises to us, just like he did to Israel's. Have even better promises to us. He promised I'm a land flowing with milk and honey. He promised US glory, honor, immortality and incorruption and eternal life. Yes, he's made lots of promises. It's true. Sat Paul says this. Listen to this unbelievable text. It's an Ephesians one, he says, in him you also, after listening to the message of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation, having also believed, you were sealed in him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge, a down payment for our inheritance. This is what's coming, an inheritance, a glorious in heritage. Every one of you is Chrismated, that Chrism, Paul is saying. After you believed, then we're baptized, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Notice what he's called the Holy Spirit of promise, his presence, which is sealed to you in Chrismation. When you have the Holy Meron put on you, you're given the Holy Spirit and a stamp, a seal of God's ownership. God is saying your mind and the mark that your mind is the sacred Chrism in crosses on your body, just like some people get tattoos and for reasons, or you brand an animal to mark ownership. This is the cow of St Andrew Farm Right. This is exactly what Chrism is and that presence of the Holy Spirit. He exists in you as the Holy Spirit of promise, his presence in your life. Your Chrismation is the promise of your inheritance, which is coming, your honor, Your glory, your immortality, your incorruption which you're going to experience, it's all there. And Paul says that that Holy Spirit functions as a pledge. It's a marvelous word. The Holy Spirit is given to as a pledge and out of on. And out of on is a Greek where is taken from an old Hebrew word and it means a deposit in kind. Businessmen would give you a deposit. I'm giving you here. This is ten percent, and as soon as you fulfill your promise, is on this day, you get it...

...all. Today. In modern Greek, out of own is used as an engagement ring. I think that's pretty telling. Also, the Holy Spirit is put on you as a pledge of your inheritance, as an engagement ring from God as your betrothed, because the wedding feast awaits us in the Kingdom of Heaven. You're going to have all of those things and the Holy Spirit in your life is bearing witness to that promise that it's coming, that your riches are coming. But, brothers and sisters, glory and honor and immortality and incorruption are nothing compared to what the Holy Spirit ultimately witnesses to, and that is God in you. The Holy Spirit exists in us as the very presence of God. He is manifesting our relationship with God. It's the presence of God that brings the honor and the glory and the immortality, and in the incorruption, it's our heavenly father and his beloved son who are waiting for us, dwelling in US and calling us to our future inheritance. Be Happy with that. Let it satisfy you. Recognize the honor that you have as Christian people to be near God, closer than Moses. Moses didn't get to eat and drink the deified flesh of the son of God, like you will in just a few minutes. Let's not, then, be like the prodigal son who left because he despibes this inheritance, because he couldn't wait. You have the Holy Spirit already. You already have the promise, you have the pledge. He's in you. It's going to happen. Don't lose your patience and run away, and don't be in the presence of God and miss it like the self righteous son who was occupied about other things, a fake piety. Cherish the presence of God on this prodigal some Sunday. Okay, yeah, already God. We hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit 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 www dot petristic nectar dot org.

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