THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
Liturgical texts here
WHILE many Catholics are caving in to a certain panic as the Synod on the Family in Rome continues to swirl in controversy, I pray that others will see something else: God is revealing our sickness through it all. He is revealing to His Church our pride, our presumption, our rebellion, and perhaps above all, our lack of faith.
For Christianity and salvation are not rocket-science. It’s really quite straightforward, as St. Paul reminds us in today’s first reading:
Sin must not reign over your mortal bodies so that you obey their desires… Do you not know that if you present yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
There are two paths for each human being: to either follow the Creator’s will, or one’s own will. To follow one’s own will in contradiction to God’s laws is called “sin”. And this leads to death: darkness in our hearts, darkness in relationships, darkness in our cities, darkness in our nations, and darkness in the world. And so Jesus, “the light of the world”,cf. John 8:11 came to deliver us from this darkness, from the power of sin that leads to slavery.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world… the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death, light has arisen. (John 1:9; Matt 4:16)
I say that Christ, our light, is illuminating the Church’s pride and presumption at this hour—especially that of the “conservatives”—because many have forgotten that everything they’ve received is all grace. It is easy to sit in judgment over bishops, priests, and yes, popes, and condemn their faults. It is easy to read the news headlines and point fingers at the pagans. But such a one has forgotten that he was not only once a beggar whom the Lord passed by and raised from the gutter, but that he is still a beggar whose every breath in his lungs is a gift from the same Lord. Every grain of goodness and sanctity is grace—all grace.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus… so that, as it is written, “Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.” (1 Cor 1:30-31)
I say that Christ, our light, is illuminating the Church’s rebelliousness and lack of faith—especially that of the “liberals”—because many have forgotten (or purposely neglected) the Gospel of repentance. They have become vain in their reasoning and politically correct cowards who have deceived themselves into believing that sin is not what it is: that which “leads to death.”
Brothers and sisters, Satan has unleashed a torrent of deception upon our world, but most especially directed toward the Church.
The serpent, however, spewed a torrent of water out of his mouth after the woman to sweep her away with the current. (Rev 12:15)
This fight in which we find ourselves… [against] powers that destroy the world, are spoken of in chapter 12 of Revelation… It is said that the dragon directs a great stream of water against the fleeing woman, to sweep her away… I think that it is easy to interpret what the river stands for: it is these currents that dominate everyone, and want to eliminate the faith of the Church, which seems to have nowhere to stand before the power of these currents that impose themselves as the only way of thinking, the only way of life. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, first session of the special synod on the Middle East, October 10th, 2010
However, the moment we forget that we are beggars, forget that Jesus asks of us not only orthodoxy but obedience, not only faith but love, not only justice but mercy, not only mercy but justice… then we too risk being swept away by the undercurrents of pride, presumption, complacency and blindness.
The Catholic who does not live really and sincerely according to the Faith he professes will not long be master of himself in these days when the winds of strife and persecution blow so fiercely, but will be swept away defenseless in this new deluge which threatens the world. And thus, while he is preparing his own ruin, he is exposing to ridicule the very name of Christian. —POPE PIUS XI, Divini Redemptoris “On Atheistic Communism”, n. 43; March 19th, 1937
Thus, today’s Gospel is a warning to those who have fallen asleep in their faith—one way or another.
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come… Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. (Today’s Gospel)
The answer to this Great Storm, and the chaos that is here and coming, is to simply take Our Lord at His word: to have faith in Him like a child; to repent of our sins like the sinners we are; and to seek His strength like a poor beggar to help us live in the light: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me… Master, I want to see.” Mark 10:47, 51
To remember that all is grace. And if you do remember, that too is a grace.
When men rose up against us, then would they have swallowed us alive… Then would the waters have overwhelmed us; the torrent would have swept over us; over us then would have swept the raging waters. Blessed be the LORD, who did not leave us a prey to their teeth… Broken was the snare, and we were freed. Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.(Today’s Psalm)
Keep ready your oil jar
Of merit and deeds,
Ample to keep
Your lamp aflame
Lest outside you be kept
When He comes.
Do not be careless.
—St. Teresa of Avila
Thanks for your prayers, love, and support!
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|1.||↑||cf. John 8:11|
|2.||↑||Mark 10:47, 51|