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 publications present the arena Sunday homilies and theological reflections with Father Josiah Treno. The trial that the soul experiences at the time of bodily death is more painful than most imagine. The agony of its parting from the body, that body with which it has lived for so many years, with which it struggled, with which it tried in difficult times and rejoiced in happy events, it cannot be compared with any of the trials of this present life. Dying is not easy and ought not be trivialized. It is a mighty work of the Christian a great act and something that should be thought about, plan for and something that should be approached in faith, depending on God through the process. What you have just heard our sound bites from some of the lectures in a seven part lecture series entitled a Christian ending to our lives. patristic nectar publications invites you to download the first of these seven lectures here at ancient faith radio. For more information and the remaining lectures, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org and now here's father Josiah, with the Sunday homily, the name of 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, before our 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 on this founder's Day. The Gospel leaves us shaking again listening to what I thought to 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 week was the second Sunday, certainly they were to have the impression that if you have any money at all, you're dead. You're dead, you'll have nothing to do 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 man who was humble and had a good disposition, who love the commandments of God and was such a beautiful person that it says in the gospels elsewhere that Jesus loved him, and yet the man went away from Jesus, his presence sad, grieved, conflicted, because though he was attracted to Jesus, he was attracted to money and things more. And then our savior made it very clear that no one like that will ever enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God. Ouch, Ouch, we should all be saying ouch every single person who lives in this country. We shouldn't be sitting in this Church temple thinking to my ourselves, well, that applies to the few rich people over there, or maybe the rich person in the back or in the front, or whatever. Brothers and sisters, America's poor are the world's rich. The people...

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

...testimony of the Lord's mother. There are in fact some accounts, some in the gospels, of the righteous rich people like Joseph and Nicodemus, many of the Mur bearing women, who utilized their vast resources to fund the Lord's Ministry and to support the apostles, it is true, but those who have a character and a heart large enough to be able to love Christ with wealth are few, are few, and they are living miracles. According to our saviors teaching, they're those that have found that 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 the short term, and this is the difference between the righteous rich and those who 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 the short 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 at the 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 is how 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 trying to expound our Savior's words and think that Father Josiah is jumping on the all too popular American habit of bashing the rich. This was a nonstop stream in the political discussions leading up to the presidential election. In fact, our Lord does not discuss the rich as do our politicians. Jesus speaks strongly about that temptation of average because he loves people and he wants to free the rich from their passions. More often than not in America we bash the rich not because we love them and want to free them from their passions, but because we want what they have. We're mad at them because we expect that every else other person has some sort of birthright to have lots of money. St John chrysostom 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 rich man to enter into heaven, how much harder for a covetous man. To give up one's own wealth is hard enough, but to give up desiring other people's wealth is harder. Yet. We ought not take false comfort, brothers and sisters, in this Gospel Lesson and Think, oh, those bad rich people never going to go to heaven. We ought remember that, if they're not going, we who want what they...

...have, we who covet their money, and I would say covetousness is a driving force in American life. If the rich have a hard time, Saint John Krasostom says, it's even more difficult for those who want what the rich have. Better instead, to choose the 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's given us for his service. And no one models that for us, brothers and sisters, better than she whom we remembered today, the most wealthy, the multi multimillion billion tresilionaire, Catherine of Alexandria, the all wise, who has 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 one of the most esteemed families in Alexandria. She was exceedingly wealthy from a world's the world's perspective. She also was so beautiful, so gorgeous, so endowed with physical wealth, that she was deemed even by her persecutors to be a goddess when the emperor of the East started to dialog with Saint Catherine, because she would in worship the idols and because she was converting so many people by her faith. When he first started to persuade her, he himself was undone because 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 was the richest person on the earth in mental ability. She had been schooled in all the Greek philosophers. On top of that, she had an expert knowledge of medicine, and she had acquired this knowledge by the time that she was eighteen years of age. She demonstrated her power of rhetoric by the fact that when the emperor brought in fifty accomplished philosophers and paid them to convince her that the Christian faith was erroneous, they ended up not just renouncing paganism and becoming Christians, but being willing, on the persuasion of Saint Catherine, to become martyrs for the faith. And they all gave up their lives. Can you imagine being the emperor in such a case? You dig deep to pay for fifty accomplished philosophers to come and convert this girl that you desire, but you won't tolerate her Christian faith. And not only do they fail, but every one of them is so inspired by her wisdom and by her speech that they not only renounce the faith they came to defend, but they embrace the Christian faith and so sincerely that they go all the way to martyrdom. Who can accomplish 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 in her own heart that was costing her dearly. You remember the story, don't you? Her mother, who was a secret Christian, brought her to see her spiritual father, who was a pious holy man, and this man dis discerned in St Catherine's heart that despite all of her virtues, all of her beauty, all of her intelligence, she had vanity, she had her own form of avarice and she was attached to...

...her own wealth and an ungodly way and 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 what she wanted, when her parents wanted her to marry, she promised them, I will marry anyone if you can find someone who is my equal. I will not marry it an uneducated person. I will not marry someone who's not hand him, find him for me. They could find no one who was her 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 deeply upset. He said go home. He gave her an icon of the Virgin Holding the Christ child. He said go home and pray sincerely to the virgin that you might be able to meet him. And in fact she took went home that night and she took the icon and she prayed in front of it until she fell asleep and when she fell asleep she had a vision, and in the vision she saw the mother of God in front of her holding the Christ 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 that she could look from behind the Virgin Mary at the face of Christ, is gorgeous child. And when Jesus looked at her, he turned his head away and the Virgin said to him, please look on Thy Servant Catherine, who is so beautiful. and Jesus said to her, to his mom, I refused to look at her. She is black and filthy and she is not rich, she is a pauper. Catherine was deeply grieved by this and repented. When she woke up, she recognized what had happened. She sincerely repented of her vanity, for her attachment to her own form of riches, and by her humility she was able to have...

...another vision, and this time Christ was so in taken by her that he told his mother that he wished to pledge himself to her and he gave her a ring and engagement ring from the hand of Christ himself. She had made herself beautiful. She had decided to take 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 wicked Emperor unto martyrdom. When she was martyred, her sacred relics had miracles, miracles of Merr and mill coming out from her body, and the angel took her sacred relics to the top of Mount Sinai, where they remain at the foundation of one of the longest continually operating orthodox monasteries in the world, the monastery 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 and wealth. She imitated the Magi kings before her who took their treasures, their gold, their Frankincense, theirmre and journeying in the service of Christ and laid them at her feet. And, brothers and sisters, this is how we rich 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 we have to put at the feet of Jesus in service of his cause. If we do this, it matters not how much we make. We will be deemed worthy of the Kingdom of God. Thank God. For Twenty Years in this parish we have had elders, brothers and sisters who have put the things of the Lord First. We have had...

...the honor of building a house for the 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're going to hear all of the names of our departed founders. Your hearts are going to be stirred because you're going to think about them and how much you miss them and what they did for this parish and the founders that are with us and that are still alive in this parish. We've all gone through a great 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, who will hopefully worship in this beautiful temple and do magnificent service to God that we can't imagine. I'm confident this is going to happen. They will never have the privilege that we have had. They will not know what it's like to meet for the Holy Liturgy with twelve people. They won't know the mystery of seeing the mystical body of Christ formed in our midst. They won't know what it's like to have bonds established between people who had no earthly ties but found themselves attached to each other with a love and a common faith deeper than blood. No, we are honored people, and every single one of us has been made rich. Has Been made...

...rich with a wealth that need not ever disappear. We honor are departed founders today, and I honored those of you who are founders of this holy church and who have done just what you ought to have done. With your resources, with your love, with your time, with your talent and with your treasure. You have put it at the service of Christ and at his feet, and the result is St Andrew Orthodox Church, nonexistent twenty years ago, established with the strength of the Lord. Today, glory to the one who is rich and who became poor for our sake and are that we, who were poor, might become rich. Amen. 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 this spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. Until next time,.

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