THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for December 11th, 2015
Friday of the Second Week of Advent
Liturgical texts here
THE real danger at this hour in the world is not that there is so much confusion, but that we would get caught up in it ourselves. In fact, panic, fear, and compulsive reactions are part of the Great Deception. It removes the soul from its center, which is Christ. Peace leaves, and with it, wisdom and the ability to see clearly. This is the real danger.
People are beginning to go to the extremes. The middle ground of reason and respect, of listening and docility, is quickly disappearing. Courtesy, kindness, and deference are giving way to name-calling, hatred, and insistence. Left-wing, right-wing, conservative, liberal, terrorist, radical, dangerous, divisive, intolerant, hater, denier, biggot… these are the kind of words, once reserved for true extremists, that people are now slapping on one another for even relatively benign disagreements.
Understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power. (2 Tim 3:1-4)
It is because we fail to see the good in one another, cf. Seeing the Good fail to see the universal dignity originating from the image of God in which we were created. Unless we recover this ability, war will be our companion in the days and years ahead. Jesus said to St. Faustina, “Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy.” cf. Diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, n. 300 And that begins with having mercy upon one another.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (Matt 5:7)
Without mercy, there is only the imposition of justice, and one’s own version of justice at that. And that almost always produces war to one degree or another: war between nations, war between leaders, war between races, war between political parties, war between neighbourhoods, war between families.
Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction… —POPE FRANCIS, BBC News, Sept. 13th, 2014
…and the sword of the tongue. Can we not say that this weapon, the weapon of words, is already undermining peace?
When he broke open the second seal… Another horse came out, a red one. Its rider was given power to take peace away from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another. And he was given a huge sword. (Rev 6:3-4)
Within the Church, the sword of the tongue is being carelessly and grievously wielded as well, and most often, from those most interested in bringing others into an encounter with the Catechism rather than an encounter with Christ. Pope Francis’ call for the Church to become more merciful has itself been greeted with a lack of mercy and understanding.
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ Wisdom is vindicated by her works. (Today’s Gospel)
Did you notice that the closer Jesus got to His Passion, the more silent he became? As the Church draws closer to her own Passion, we would do well to imitate Our Lord. The world is under a thick cloud of confusion and deception. Reason and reasonable discourse has gone out the door, just as it did when Jesus faced Pilate and the Sanhedrin. It was then that He gave The Silent Answer. For “wisdom is vindicated by her works.”
Thus, what is needed most at this time is wisdom, that gift of the Spirit that helps us to know when to speak and when to remain silent. That gift that helps one to rise above the din of noise, debate, and polemic, above the Storm clouds and confusion, and gain a divine perspective of all things that will help one find the “jet stream” of truth. Because the forces behind this Great Storm are diabolical. We are not dealing with flesh and blood, but principalities and powers. If you try to survive it by your own devices, your own intellect and shrewdness, you’re done. This is no ordinary “bump” in Church history, as much as some clergy want to play it down. It is “the final confrontation” of this era, said John Paul II. cf. Understanding the Final ConfrontationThus, it is faith, trust, and a childlike heart that will endure this Storm, because only such hearts will be given the Wisdom and grace that alone will carry them safely to the other side—whether that is the next era, or eternity.
It says in the book of Sirach:
Before man are life and death, whichever he chooses will be given him. (Sir 15:17)
Or as Hosea said,
When they sow the wind, they will reap the whirlwind. (Hos 8:7)
All the confusion we are seeing today over climate change, immigration, conversion of the Jews, Israel, Russia, the stock market, gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia, assisted-suicide… all of it is symptomatic of a world that is reaping the whirlwind of its choice to untether itself from the Word of God, from the unchanging natural moral law. And so, it’s going to get really bad until mankind has tasted enough of the fruit of death, division, and sorrow. What good is it, then, to analyze every bad headline? Unless you’re called to do so, you’ll get caught up in the whirlwind with the risk of being sucked into the extremes that polarize and divide (although, ultimately, those who follow Christ and Sacred Tradition will be persecuted). Rather, what Jesus asks of us is very simple: be faithful. My Catechism has the same number of pages, the same paragraphs that it did on the day it was published. Follow it. Follow Jesus. Remain in communion with the office of Peter, and all will be well. For Our Lord himself said,
Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. (Matt 7:24)
This Year of Mercy must be, above all, about showing the face of Mercy to others… not the extremes.
If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river, and your vindication like the waves of the sea… (First reading)
Calling all “liberals” and “conservatives”: read The Thin Line Between Mercy and Heresy- Part III
Bless you, and thank you.
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