The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 9 years ago

Your Treasures at Christ’s Feet

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Christ and the rich property owner. Learn more about Patristic Nectar Publications.

Ancient Faith Radio and patristic nectar publicationspresent the arena Sunday homilies and theological reflections with Father Josiah Treno. The trialthat the soul experiences at the time of bodily death is more painful than mostimagine. The agony of its parting from the body, that body with whichit has lived for so many years, with which it struggled, with whichit tried in difficult times and rejoiced in happy events, it cannot be comparedwith any of the trials of this present life. Dying is not easy andought not be trivialized. It is a mighty work of the Christian a greatact and something that should be thought about, plan for and something that should beapproached in faith, depending on God through the process. What you havejust heard our sound bites from some of the lectures in a seven part lectureseries entitled a Christian ending to our lives. patristic nectar publications invites you to downloadthe first of these seven lectures here at ancient faith radio. For moreinformation and the remaining lectures, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectardot org and now here's father Josiah, with the Sunday homily, the nameof the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, one God, thirsty people for the good things. I greet you, brothers and sisters, on this Sunday, before the Feast of St Andrew The apostle, beforeour patronal peace, before our little Pasca, which is this coming Thursday night,and today we celebrate the founders of...

...our parish and we honor them onthis founder's Day. The Gospel leaves us shaking again listening to what I thoughtto myself. If a visitor was coming to explore the teachings of Jesus,and last week was the first Sunday that he or she came in this weekwas the second Sunday, certainly they were to have the impression that if youhave any money at all, you're dead. You're dead, you'll have nothing todo with Jesus. Last week was the parable of the rich fool,and this week is the teaching of that our savior gave to a rich manwho was humble and had a good disposition, who love the commandments of God andwas such a beautiful person that it says in the gospels elsewhere that Jesusloved him, and yet the man went away from Jesus, his presence sad, grieved, conflicted, because though he was attracted to Jesus, he wasattracted to money and things more. And then our savior made it very clearthat no one like that will ever enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. It'seasier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for arich man to enter into the Kingdom of God. Ouch, Ouch, weshould all be saying ouch every single person who lives in this country. Weshouldn't be sitting in this Church temple thinking to my ourselves, well, thatapplies to the few rich people over there, or maybe the rich person in theback or in the front, or whatever. Brothers and sisters, America'spoor are the world's rich. The people...

...that we designate in poverty are millionairesin most countries of the world. And what we mean by being poor meansthat we aren't able to have health insurance, we aren't able to have the kindof healthy food perhaps that we would like to have. This, infact, grieves us because of the principle of sharing that we talked about lastSunday. We never like to have more than our neighbor, whom we love. But compared to the world, even those that we deemed to be poorbecause they have to wear clothes from goodwill are wealthy. All of us togethershould feel the weight of this teaching today, and in fact it's just another exampleof our saviors turning the world's ideas upside down. He actually pronounced awoe upon we who are rich. He pronounced woes upon us we're used tohearing pronounce him pronounce woes upon the Arrogant Pharisees, not upon those who havemoney and things. But he says woe to those who are rich, forthey have received their comfort in full. They got from this life and thereforethey will not get in the next life. You hear this every time we cometo chant the Orthros, in that beautiful magnification where the Virgin extols theLord for honoring her poverty and not disdaining her humility, and she says thathe pulls down rulers from their thrones and he exalts the humble and the meand that he himself fills the hungry with good things, but those who arerich he sends away. This is the...

...testimony of the Lord's mother. Thereare in fact some accounts, some in the gospels, of the righteous richpeople like Joseph and Nicodemus, many of the Mur bearing women, who utilizedtheir vast resources to fund the Lord's Ministry and to support the apostles, itis true, but those who have a character and a heart large enough tobe able to love Christ with wealth are few, are few, and theyare living miracles. According to our saviors teaching, they're those that have foundthat all things are possible with God. Avarice is the rule, unfortunately,and the rich in general are terrible investors, only investing with an eye to theshort term, and this is the difference between the righteous rich and thosewho fall into the love of money, like the man in today's Gospel.He was a bad investor. He wanted returns only now, only in theshort term, and even if we're young and we might live to seventy,eighty, even a hundred years old, brothers and sisters, compared to eternity, that is the very short term. The righteous rich put their treasures atthe service of our Lord and invest by sell and inherit for the long term, so that the issue isn't necessarily how much one makes. The issue ishow much one keeps versus how much we...

...put at the service of the Lord. Now, I don't want you to mistake what I'm saying today in tryingto expound our Savior's words and think that Father Josiah is jumping on the alltoo popular American habit of bashing the rich. This was a nonstop stream in thepolitical discussions leading up to the presidential election. In fact, our Lorddoes not discuss the rich as do our politicians. Jesus speaks strongly about thattemptation of average because he loves people and he wants to free the rich fromtheir passions. More often than not in America we bash the rich not becausewe love them and want to free them from their passions, but because wewant what they have. We're mad at them because we expect that every elseother person has some sort of birthright to have lots of money. St Johnchrysostom speaks about this in defining in this Gospel lesson who the rich are.Listen to these words. He says, if it is hard for a richman to enter into heaven, how much harder for a covetous man. Togive up one's own wealth is hard enough, but to give up desiring other people'swealth is harder. Yet. We ought not take false comfort, brothersand sisters, in this Gospel Lesson and Think, oh, those bad richpeople never going to go to heaven. We ought remember that, if they'renot going, we who want what they...

...have, we who covet their money, and I would say covetousness is a driving force in American life. Ifthe rich have a hard time, Saint John Krasostom says, it's even moredifficult for those who want what the rich have. Better instead, to choosethe beautiful, wise investment. Better, in fact, to esteem true riches, true value true wealth according to Jesus's standard and to use anything that he'sgiven us for his service. And no one models that for us, brothersand sisters, better than she whom we remembered today, the most wealthy,the multi multimillion billion tresilionaire, Catherine of Alexandria, the all wise, whohas ever been as wealthy as Saint Catherine, and I don't just mean tangible gold, but let's start there. She was of royal lineage, of oneof the most esteemed families in Alexandria. She was exceedingly wealthy from a world'sthe world's perspective. She also was so beautiful, so gorgeous, so endowedwith physical wealth, that she was deemed even by her persecutors to be agoddess when the emperor of the East started to dialog with Saint Catherine, becauseshe would in worship the idols and because she was converting so many people byher faith. When he first started to persuade her, he himself was undonebecause he thought she might be Artemis in the flesh. It's what he thought. Besides the endowment of money and the...

...endowment of Beauty, she also wasthe richest person on the earth in mental ability. She had been schooled inall the Greek philosophers. On top of that, she had an expert knowledgeof medicine, and she had acquired this knowledge by the time that she waseighteen years of age. She demonstrated her power of rhetoric by the fact thatwhen the emperor brought in fifty accomplished philosophers and paid them to convince her thatthe Christian faith was erroneous, they ended up not just renouncing paganism and becomingChristians, but being willing, on the persuasion of Saint Catherine, to becomemartyrs for the faith. And they all gave up their lives. Can youimagine being the emperor in such a case? You dig deep to pay for fiftyaccomplished philosophers to come and convert this girl that you desire, but youwon't tolerate her Christian faith. And not only do they fail, but everyone of them is so inspired by her wisdom and by her speech that theynot only renounce the faith they came to defend, but they embrace the Christianfaith and so sincerely that they go all the way to martyrdom. Who canaccomplish such things? She was exceedingly rich and at first, brothers and sisters, she herself was very wounded and had even a little bit of worldliness inher own heart that was costing her dearly. You remember the story, don't you? Her mother, who was a secret Christian, brought her to seeher spiritual father, who was a pious holy man, and this man disdiscerned in St Catherine's heart that despite all of her virtues, all of herbeauty, all of her intelligence, she had vanity, she had her ownform of avarice and she was attached to...

...her own wealth and an ungodly wayand she did not think there was anyone on the earth who was her equal. And, as a ruse, in order to preserve her chaft Atya whatshe wanted, when her parents wanted her to marry, she promised them,I will marry anyone if you can find someone who is my equal. Iwill not marry it an uneducated person. I will not marry someone who's nothand him, find him for me. They could find no one who washer equal. And when the holy man discerned the vanity in St Catherine's heart, he told her there is one, and I know him very well,and not only his he you're equal in wisdom and beauty and intelligence and wealth, but what he possesses makes you look like a popper. She was deeplyupset. He said go home. He gave her an icon of the VirginHolding the Christ child. He said go home and pray sincerely to the virginthat you might be able to meet him. And in fact she took went homethat night and she took the icon and she prayed in front of ituntil she fell asleep and when she fell asleep she had a vision, andin the vision she saw the mother of God in front of her holding theChrist child, but Jesus was looking up at the face of his mother,with his back towards St Catherine. So she walked around the side so thatshe could look from behind the Virgin Mary at the face of Christ, isgorgeous child. And when Jesus looked at her, he turned his head awayand the Virgin said to him, please look on Thy Servant Catherine, whois so beautiful. and Jesus said to her, to his mom, Irefused to look at her. She is black and filthy and she is notrich, she is a pauper. Catherine was deeply grieved by this and repented. When she woke up, she recognized what had happened. She sincerely repentedof her vanity, for her attachment to her own form of riches, andby her humility she was able to have...

...another vision, and this time Christwas so in taken by her that he told his mother that he wished topledge himself to her and he gave her a ring and engagement ring from thehand of Christ himself. She had made herself beautiful. She had decided totake her treasure and to lay that treasure at the feet of her savior.She ended up taking that ring and her pledge and bearing witness before this wickedEmperor unto martyrdom. When she was martyred, her sacred relics had miracles, miraclesof Merr and mill coming out from her body, and the angel tookher sacred relics to the top of Mount Sinai, where they remain at thefoundation of one of the longest continually operating orthodox monasteries in the world, themonastery of St Catherine. There where Moses saw the uncreated light on Mount Sinai. Brothers and sisters, this is how someone lives for Christ with resources andwealth. She imitated the Magi kings before her who took their treasures, theirgold, their Frankincense, theirmre and journeying in the service of Christ and laidthem at her feet. And, brothers and sisters, this is how werich Americans need to live if we want to inherit the Kingdom of God.We have to judge what true wealth is correctly, and the world's wealth wehave to put at the feet of Jesus in service of his cause. Ifwe do this, it matters not how much we make. We will bedeemed worthy of the Kingdom of God. Thank God. For Twenty Years inthis parish we have had elders, brothers and sisters who have put the thingsof the Lord First. We have had...

...the honor of building a house forthe Holy Trinity and we have done it on the shoulders of men and women, old and young, who have chosen to put the things of God first. No one builds a church in twenty years. Who Doesn't do that?It's just not done. At the end of the Liturgy to day, you'regoing to hear all of the names of our departed founders. Your hearts aregoing to be stirred because you're going to think about them and how much youmiss them and what they did for this parish and the founders that are withus and that are still alive in this parish. We've all gone through agreat mystery. We've all been given immense wealth. We became the first,the first to confess and establish the Orthodox faith in the city of Riverside.No other generations, none that follow us, our children, our grandchildren, whowill hopefully worship in this beautiful temple and do magnificent service to God thatwe can't imagine. I'm confident this is going to happen. They will neverhave the privilege that we have had. They will not know what it's liketo meet for the Holy Liturgy with twelve people. They won't know the mysteryof seeing the mystical body of Christ formed in our midst. They won't knowwhat it's like to have bonds established between people who had no earthly ties butfound themselves attached to each other with a love and a common faith deeper thanblood. No, we are honored people, and every single one of us hasbeen made rich. Has Been made...

...rich with a wealth that need notever disappear. We honor are departed founders today, and I honored those ofyou who are founders of this holy church and who have done just what youought to have done. With your resources, with your love, with your time, with your talent and with your treasure. You have put it atthe service of Christ and at his feet, and the result is St Andrew OrthodoxChurch, nonexistent twenty years ago, established with the strength of the Lord. Today, glory to the one who is rich and who became poor forour sake and are that we, who were poor, might become rich.Amen. We hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentationoffered to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing thisspiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. Until next time,.

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