THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for June 29th, 2017
Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
Liturgical texts here
TWO years ago, I wrote The Growing Mob. I said then that ‘the zeitgeist has shifted; there is a growing boldness and intolerance sweeping through the courts, flooding the media, and spilling out onto the streets. Yes, the time is right to silence the Church. These sentiments have existed for some time now, decades even. But what is new is that they have gained the power of the mob, and when it reaches this stage, the anger and intolerance begin to move very fast.’
In the face of the mob, our courage can shrink, resolve disappear, and our voice become timid, small, and inaudible. For at this hour, to defend traditional morals, marriage, life, human dignity, and the Gospel is met almost immediately with the words, “Who are you to judge?” It has become the catch-all phrase to refute nearly any moral assertion that has its roots in the natural law. It’s almost as if to hold fast to any absolute today, no matter what it is, is intolerant just by sheer virtue of it being an absolute. Those who propose the Gospel, then, are bigots, intolerant, hateful, homophobes, deniers, unmerciful, and even terrorists (see The Reframers), and are now being threatened with fines, imprisonment and the seizure of their children.
And this, in 2017, in the “enlightened” Western World.
If we cave in to the mob, if we Christians fall silent, it will create a vacuum—one that is inevitably filled by totalitarianism in one form or another (see The Great Vacuum). As Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” On this solemnity of saints Peter and Paul, it is the moment for you and I to regain our courage.
This week, the Mass readings have been a reflection on both Abraham’s, and now Peter’s faith. As a cardinal, Pope Benedict said:
Abraham, the father of faith, is by his faith the rock that holds back chaos, the onrushing primordial flood of destruction, and thus sustains creation. Simon, the first to confess Jesus as the Christ… now becomes by virtue of his Abrahamic faith, which is renewed in Christ, the rock that stands against the impure tide of unbelief and its destruction of man. —POPE BENEDICT XVI (Cardinal Ratzinger), Called to Communion, Understanding the Church Today, Adrian Walker, Tr., p. 55-56
But as Peter himself said, every Christian forms part of the house of God, built upon this rock.
…like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Pet 2:5)
As such, we too have a part to play in holding back The Spiritual Tsunami that threatens to sweep away truth, beauty, and goodness.cf. The Counter-Revolution Before his retirement, Benedict added this thought:
The Church is always called upon to do what God asked of Abraham, which is to see to it that there are enough righteous men to repress evil and destruction. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Light of the World, p. 116; an interview with Peter Seewald
I’m telling you now, it is you, child of God, to whom this is addressed. If you are waiting for your parish priest, your bishop, or even the pope to lead the way, then you are mistaken. Our Lady is placing torches of the Flame of Love from her Immaculate Heart into the hands of the little ones—whoever is responding to her call. She is The New Gideon leading an army of “nobodies” straight into the enemy’s camp. She is calling you to be that light in the darkness; she is calling you to raise your voice in truth; she is calling you to be a rock that stands against the impure tide of unbelief and moral relativism that Benedict warned has placed “the very future of the world at stake.” POPE BENEDICT XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, December 20th, 2010; see On the Eve
And so meditate with me on today’s Scriptures. Let them soak into your soul and revive your courage. Let them inflame in you that boldness and faith that set the course of Peter’s and Paul’s lives on fire and blazed a trail of martyrs. Even though we know that Paul was weak and imperfect, like me, perhaps like you, he persevered nonetheless.
I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. (Today’s second reading)
The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it.
Whether by angels, or by the Holy Spirit, Jesus promises that His providence will be with us until the end of time, no matter how great the persecution, how fierce the Storm.
The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him… I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears… Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame…. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Taste and see how good the LORD is; blessed the man who takes refuge in him. (Today’s Psalm)
The Gospel—the teachings of Jesus Christ—is not a lovely option, another philosophical choice, but a divine command for us to spread to the ends of the earth. He is God, and His Word is the plan and design for human happiness and survival, for salvation and eternal life. No man—no court, no politician, no dictator—can override the natural moral law set forth in Divine Revelation. The world is mistaken if it believes that the Church is going to “finally” get with the times; that we are going to change our tune to the dirge of relativism. For the “truth sets us free” and, therefore, is the key that will open the pathways to Heaven and the same key which will lock that infernal enemy in the abyss. cf. Rev 20:3
The Church… intends to continue to raise her voice in defense of mankind, even when policies of States and the majority of public opinion moves in the opposite direction. Truth, indeed, draws strength from itself and not from the amount of consent it arouses. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Vatican, March 20, 2006
Thus, Truth will also bring you into a confrontation with the powers of darkness. But as Paul said,
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom. (Today’s second reading)
For Christ promised:
…upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. (Today’s Gospel)
Popes and paupers will come and go. Dictators and tyrants will rise and fall. Revolutions will crest and wane… but the Church will always remain, even if she becomes but a remnant, for it is the Kingdom of God already begun on earth.
Small is the number of those who understand and follow me… —Our Lady of Medjugorje, message to Marija, May 2nd, 2014
And so today, on this great solemnity, it is the hour for you, children of God, to rouse your courage, take up the Sword of the Spirit and your God-given authority to “trample upon serpents and scorpions and the full force of the enemy,” cf. Luke 10:19 and with gentleness, patience, and unswerving faith, bring the light of truth and love into the darkness—even into the very midst of the mob. For Jesus is Truth, and God is Love.
All are invited to join my special fighting force. The coming of my Kingdom must be your only purpose in life… Do not be cowards. Do not wait. Confront the Storm to save souls. —Jesus to Elizabeth Kindelmann, The Flame of Love, pg. 34, published by Children of the Father Foundation; imprimatur Archbishop Charles Chaput
…of all those who loved the appearing of the Lord, Paul of Tarsus was the extraordinary lover, the fearless fighter, the inflexible witness. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Homily, June 29th, 1979; vatican.va
He was a rock. Peter is a rock. And by the intercession of Our Lady, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the promise and presence of Jesus, you can be too in the plan that the Father has for your life, in cooperation with His plan for the salvation of the world.
You are loved.
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