THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for May 15th, 2014
Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Israel, from a different perspective…
THERE are two reasons souls fall asleep to the voice of God speaking through His prophets and the “signs of the times” in their generation. One is that people simply don’t want to hear that everything is not peachy.
It’s our very sleepiness to the presence of God that renders us insensitive to evil: we don’t hear God because we don’t want to be disturbed, and so we remain indifferent to evil… the disciples’ sleepiness [in Gethsemane] is not a problem of that one moment, rather of the whole of history, ‘the sleepiness’ is ours, of those of us who do not want to see the full force of evil and do not want to enter into his Passion. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Catholic News Agency, Vatican City, Apr 20, 2011, General Audience
The second reason is that God’s timing is not our own. This becomes clear as St. Paul chronicles the history of the Israelites from the time of the Exodus to the coming of Christ—over fifteen hundred years had lapsed! Likewise, over 2000 years have gone by since the first Easter, and the promises of Scripture have yet to reach their total fulfillment.
And so, we fall asleep.
But there will come a time, as St. Paul leads to John the Baptist, when God will raise up immediate precursors to prophesied times. St. John XXIII, our recently canonized pope, seemed to feel his reign was prophetic—to prepare the Church for an “era of peace.”
The task of humble Pope John is to “prepare for the Lord a perfect people,” which is exactly like the task of the Baptist, who is his patron and from whom he takes his name. And it is not possible to imagine a higher and more precious perfection than that of the triumph of Christian peace, which is peace at heart, peace in the social order, in life, in wellbeing, in mutual respect, and in the brotherhood of nations. —POPE JOHN XXIII, True Christian Peace, December 23rd, 1959; www.catholicculture.org
Since his pontificate, the popes following him have been no less prophetic, cf. The Popes, and the Dawning Era and Why Aren’t the Popes Shouting? in particular, calling the youth to be “heralds” and “watchmen” of a new dawn of “justice and peace.” cf. Dear Holy Father… He is Coming!
And yet, many might say, “Well that was over 50 years ago!” Likewise, the 90’s brought about an intensity of heightened expectations with the apparitions and locutions attributed to the Blessed Mother, not to mention the Great Jubilee at the turn of the millennium.
[John Paul II] does indeed cherish a great expectation that the millennium of divisions will be followed by a millennium of unifications… that all the catastrophes of our century, all its tears, as the Pope says, will be caught up at the end and turned into a new beginning. —Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (POPE BENEDICT XVI), Salt of the Earth, An Interview With Peter Seewald, p. 237
And yet, here we are fourteen years later, and the world seems to be going on as usual.
Or is it?
There is no question (to the “awakened”) that these are unprecedented times when economies, national boundaries, and the earth’s plates themselves seem poised for catastrophic shifts. The Virgin Mary is appearing in various places, beckoning, encouraging, calling, and warning. And Jesus Himself revealed to St. Faustina that we are in a “time of mercy.” Indeed, a mere cursory glance at the daily headlines reveals a world that is strikingly on the verge of globally living out the seals of Revelation and those labour pains described by Jesus. cf. Seven Seals of Revolution To be honest, I am thankful that God has granted as much time to us as He has. Have the prophecies of the past century failed… or are they about to unfold?
Whether we see the era of peace that St. John XXIII began to prepare us for, the Antichrist, or the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, we know we can count on the faithfulness of God, whatever comes:
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”. (Today’s Psalm)
But this is not an excuse to ignore the signs of the times, but rather, face them head on with the confidence of sons and daughters of the Most High.
From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. (Today’s Gospel)
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