The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 9 years ago

Your Brother is Your Life


Great Judgment Sunday. Learn more about Patristic Nectar Publications.

Many people look at the standard that he uses in this teaching and they say, well, where are all the commandments? We don't see him saying well, you didn't keep the first commandment and the second commandment and the third commandment and the fourth commandment. Where is I thought sin was a violation of God's law. Many people look at this glorious judgment scene and they ask that question. In fact, it's there right as the sun. Our Savior sums up all of the commandments in two love God and love your neighboring ancient faith radio and patristic nectar publications present the arena Sunday homilies and theological reflections with Father Josiah Trenne. Father Josiah is the pastor of Saint 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, the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. The tolls continue to toll. Brothers and sisters, were hearing the bells the pre lent and Sundays that are calling us to a sober and studied preparation for great lent. The Sunday of the Publican and the pharisee called us to an attitude of simplicity and humility and nonjudgment. The Sunday of the Prodigal Son.

Last Sunday called us to launch out in the certainty that the Lord God stands as a loving father seeking to bless us in our return, in the repentance that we have to offer him for whatever sin we have. Today is the most sober Sunday of the year, the Sunday of the great judgment. I bring you warm greetings and lots of love from your brothers and sisters in Beaumont, Texas, where I've been for the last three days at same Michael Church, one of the oldest churches, one of the oldest Orthodox churches in America in our arts diocese. It's in a fight actually with our church Saint George and Carny, to brass guy, on whether or not it's the second oldest Church of course, our cathedral in New York City is the oldest, saying Raphael himself established it. These good people made me feel absolutely at home. It's a beautiful community pastored by a young priest, Father Michael Paves, and his wonderful wife who's from a little Lebanese village, Duma Mera Surname. They're beautiful children. They also have a wonderful deacon named Elias. He's sixty four, is an old man, deacon, an old man. That community is doing the work of the church. They're serving their community and they sponsored a three day seminar on the subject of the Bible, the miracle of the Bible and the greater miracle of the Church. It was wonderful and the priests worked very hard to prepare his community for this. He was a slave driver.

He took me from one interview to the other, two radio interviews, one TV interview on Fox News, preparing and inviting people to come to the church and was very timely, especially with this fantastic history channel series on the Bible that's come out and has received such raving reviews. Of course, I was in Texas and I wasn't sure that how they were going to receive a Californian, but they were big in their hearts and I received a lot of questions, as I supposed I might, from Texans about what the Bible teaches about the judgment and the end of the world. I say that I expected it in Texas because of all the nations in the world, America has invented more theories about the end of the world than any other country ever in the history of mankind. That sets our nation apart. But within our nation there is no state that has invented more theories about the end of the world then Texas. It's absolutely true. The church is always talked about the end of the world simply, but in the nineteen century in England there was a movement, a prophetic movement. This is just after the second great awakening in England and America. This movement in Protestant Christianity. It gave rise to a great obsession with prophetic literature in the Bible and exactly what these prophecies, old and new, would say about the last days. A theory was articulated at that time, this is mid nineteen century England, by a man named Howard Irving. He was a dissenter. This whole prophetic movement was part of the dissenting Protestant...

...what we might call today the Evangelical Wing of the Protestant Movement. This man came up with a theory that Jesus was going to come back secretly for believers and rapture them to heaven that when he did that, all hell was going to break loose on the Earth for seven years. At the end of that time he was going to come back again and he was going to go to the city of Jerusalem in the Holy Land and he was going to rule there, calling the Jews back to God to accept him as their Messiah, and to do this for a thousand years and then at the end of that would be the great judgment. Quite an interesting, complex theory and it took off in our country. Absolutely took off. It's virtually dead in England. Christianity's virtually dead in England. Two percent of the population is in church on Sunday. Two percent. But in our country, and especially through the agency of a seminary in Texas called Dallas Theological Seminary, that that theory went around the country and has been for the last hundred and fifty years inspiring TV shows and bumper stickers book series. Be careful. If the rapture comes, this car will not have a driver. You've seen those bumper stickers, things like that. I wasn't surprised then that these Texans, even though most of them were Orthodox and Catholic, some Lutherans and methodists. I wasn't surprised that they also were very interested with what the Bible teaches about the last days and the judgment.

But this and sisters, that theory that I just mentioned, forgive me, a bunch of Hogwash, wooi absolute nonsense. You know what would be implied with the presuppositions of that theory are, if that's true, there's not a second coming, there's three more comings. Jesus came, of course, in the flesh and the womb of the most pure theotkos. On that first Christmas Day he joined humanity and divinity together, he joined heaven and earth. He healed us. He lived a most magnificent life, offering himself up as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, crushing death, plundering Hades, rising again on the third day, teaching us about the Kingdom of God and then taking our own flesh up to heaven on the forty day and his glorious ascension and sitting at the right end of the father where he is now sending forth the Holy Spirit to enable the church, to inspire the church to do good deeds even greater than he did, he said, in his name, until the end when he'll come again to roll up the scrolls of history and to reward all of the faithful and to bring all the faithful into a unity in the Kingdom of God forever. This is our faith. This is the faith of Christians for two thousand years. It's reflected in the creed. The presuppositions of that theory is that Jesus is not coming back once. He's coming back a second time, secretly where no one's going to see him. I haven't really figured that out. How that works. I guess you see the people going up in the sky but you don't see him. And then he comes back a third time to go to Jerusalem and then he comes back a fourth time for the great judgment. So we're not looking for the second coming. Evidently we're. What we really want is the fourth coming. It's just not a theory that the church has ever believed. What do we believe.

We believe in what you heard in the Gospel today from Matthew Twenty Five. We believe that, at a time appointed by the father his son, our savior will come back in glory with all the holy angels and gather every man, woman and childhood has ever lived, and then he'll make his judgment, and those who have done righteously will hear the words from him. Come, Ye, blessed if my father inherit, the kingdom prepared from you, from the foundation of the world, and those who have lived selfish, self obsessed lives and have practiced wickedness on the face of the earth will hear from him. Depart from me, Ye accursed one, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Woo whoo. This is what we believe. We say in the creed that he shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end. This is what we expect, this is the anticipation that we live in. We expect the Lord to come back. We're looking for it. We have an eye up there and we have an eye on the earth. We're living our lives, loving our families, trying to praise the Lord. We're trying to do good when we aren't doing good. We're trying to repent and the other eyes all was up there. We're trying to do everything so that we will remember that we're going to render account for it on the day of the Lord. When he comes, it's going to be a glorious coming, very unlike his first coming. His first coming was quiet. In a little tiny town in Palestine,...

...most people had no idea what was going on. The angels knew. The shepherds were a little confused, but they knew. Some wise. Men from the East, from Persia, came because they had been studying the prophetic writings and looking at the stars and trying to hear the voice of God, and the Lord led them by that magnificent start to see the savior. But besides that, it was quiet. It will be anything but quiet when our Lord returns. He's going to come back in glory, in the company of a heaven the escort, with all the angels with him, it says, and he's going to sit on a glorious throne as king you remember that one time when he climbed up on to the top of Mount Tabor, he revealed to his through his three precious disciples, Peter, James and John, his to true glory, and a light came out from him that was brighter than the Noonday Sun and blinded them and cause them to be completely undone. He showed them what he was, cloaking his whole earthly ministry, his divinity, his beautiful, radiant glory and uncreated energy that will not be cloaked, as it's not cloak now. He'll come back in that splendor, in blazing fire. St Paul says to the Thessalonian he's going to come back, he's going to sit on his throne. He'll remain the humble lamb, but he'll be a humble land glorified by all. And after having spent all of these years, these precious years, exercising his providence at his session at the right hand of his father, strengthening the church in her mission to preach the good news of his victory over death to the whole world, strengthening the church to offer water of life to everyone in the world who wants to escape death and its...

...clutches. After he's done that and supported his church to teach his commandments, everywhere and to baptize everyone in the name of the Holy Trinity. When it's done at a time only he knows, then he's going to come back and, after having called everyone to unity with the father and themselves, he's going to make a separation between those who pursued that and those who didn't. He's going to put the sheep on his right and he's going to put the goats on his left. Many people look at the standard that he uses in this teaching and they say, well, where are all the commandment we don't see him saying well, you didn't keep the first commandment and the second commandment and the third commandment and the fourth commandment. Where is I thought sin was a violation of God's law. Many people look at this glorious judgment scene and they ask that question. In fact, it's there, right is the sun. Our Savior sums up all of the commandments in two love God and love your neighbor. and Saint John Takes that beautiful duality and he says the way that you can know if you did number one is if you did number two. Nobody can claim to love God and hate his brother. Saint John says if you do you're a liar. This is why all of the examination that our savior gifts to make this final separation have to do with how we actually treat other people. Did we actually care for the people that we see in our life? The visitor, the foreigner, the alien, the person who's ill and sick, the person who's impoverished and it's naked, the person who is in prison? Our Savior says our destinies are determined by our orientation to our...

...neighbor. If we in fact see with the eyes of God, then every person that we meet, we can see Christ in every person that we every need were confronted with, we know behind that need is the will of God and the face of Christ, and to approach it, to try to meet that need, is in fact to meet the needs of Christ. This is why he said to the goats, you never did anything for me, because inasmuch as you did not do it to the least of these, my brethren, you did not do it to me. And positively, to the sheep, he said, you did all these things for me. And then, their humility, they said, Lord, when did we do anything like that for you? And he said, inasmuch as you did it to the least. You did it to me. I put on the back of the church a beautiful icon of Saint Silo on the Ath andite. He's actually looking at me right now. Sat Silo on the Ath Andite is the great twenty century proclaimer of this teaching. He's famous for a very simple phrase that I want to leave with you to encourage you. That simple phrase is this. Our brother is our life. Our brother is our life. There is a door to the kingdom and the door is your brother's need. Your neighbors cares. If we embrace them, if we make time to embrace them, will find that those needs and fulfilling those needs is the turning of the handle that opens the door to the Kingdom of God. And that's what Sundays all about.

Brothers and sisters, don't let your life be dominated, don't be tyrannized by American business, especially not on this day. For six days, okay, but not today. When are you going to have time to visit the sick? And you know we have a lot of people sick right now, a lot of our parishioners ailing some who have just died this week. When are you going to have time to visit them to care for the departed in their families. When you're going to have time to go to the hospitals and the Rehab centers and the shuttins? When will you have time to greet the visitor and embrace the foreigner like a family member and say come to my house? If not today, if we let the tyranny in the pressure of our busy lives, that we have six days that we could, we let a spill onto the market day of the soul, on to the Lord's Day, and steal our day from us, brothers and sisters, were stealing from ourselves. That's why the Lord said apart this day so that will have the time necessary to do the most important works. I'm encouraging guard the time and be about these deeds. Convince yourself here that your brother is your life. God help us on it. 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. Until next...

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