AS the weekend Mass readings rolled by, I sensed the Lord saying once again: it is time for the prophets to arise! Let me repeat that:
It is time for the prophets to arise!
But don’t start Googling to find out who they are… just look in the mirror.
…the faithful, who by Baptism are incorporated into Christ and integrated into the People of God, are made sharers in their particular way in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly office of Christ, and have their own part to play in the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the World. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 897
What does a prophet do? He or she speaks God’s Word in the present moment that we may know more clearly His Will. And sometimes, that “word” must be a strong one.
CASE IN POINT
Right now, I am thinking of the recent ghastly turn of events in New York where the Governor there has moved to a new level of barbarism by legalizing abortion for any reason right up until birth. To the politicians in Canada, Ireland, Australia, America, Europe, and beyond, the Church (that is, you and me) ought to cry out with one voice, not only that life is sacred, but repeating again God’s commandment: “Thou shalt not kill”!
Why do we have Canon Laws if we fail to enforce them? To not use them for fear of offending or sending the wrong message is actually offensive and sends the wrong message. The power Christ gave the Church to “bind and loose” is ultimately the power of excommunication when a baptized member commits an excommunicable sin.Matthew 18:18 Regarding such an unrepentant sinner, Jesus said:
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. (Matthew 18:17)
Adds St. Paul:
The one who did this deed should be expelled from your midst…. you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. (1 Cor 5:2-5)
The goal is that these (all too often) “Catholic” politicians be brought to repentance—not be enabled by our silence! In Canada alone, it has been Catholic politician after Catholic politician who has legalized and safeguarded abortion, no-fault divorce, the redefinition of marriage, gender ideology, and soon, God-knows-what. How is it that these authors of public scandal can still partake in Holy Communion? Do we think so little of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament? Are we so trite towards His Death and Resurrection? There is a time for “righteous anger.” It’s time.
Bishop Rick Stika of Tennesee took to social media regarding the situation in New York:
Enough is enough. Excommunication is to be not a punishment but to bring the person back into the Church… this vote is so hideous and vile it warrants the act. —January 25th, 2019
Bishop Joseph of Strickland of Texas tweeted:
I’m not in a position to take action regarding legislation in New York but I implore bishops who are to speak forcefully. In any sane society, this is called INFANTICIDE!!!!!!!!!! …Woe to those who ignore the sanctity of life, they reap the whirlwind of Hell. Stand against this holocaust any way you can. —January 25th, 2019
Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany, N.Y., said,
The kind of procedures that are now possible in New York state we wouldn’t even do to a dog or cat in a similar situation. It’s torture. —CNSnews.com, January 29th, 2019
And Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane, Washington restated the Church’s perennial, but mostly unenforced pastoral guideline:
Politicians who reside in the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, and who obstinately persevere in their public support for abortion, should not receive Communion without first being reconciled to Christ and the Church (cf. Canon 915; “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion. General Principles.” Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 2004).
The Church’s commitment to the life of every human person from conception until death is firm. God alone is the author of life and for the civil government to sanction the willful murder of children is unacceptable. For a Catholic political leader to do so is scandalous.
I encourage the faithful to turn to our Lord in prayer for our political leaders, entrusting them especially to the intercession of St. Thomas More, a public servant who preferred to die at the hands of civil authorities rather than abandon Christ and the Church…. —February 1st, 2019; dioceseofspokane.org
As commendable as these prophetic voices are, we are too late as a Church in terms of stopping the culture of death. It’s like parking a car in front of a runaway train. We are reaping the whirlwind of decades of collective silence.
But it is not too late for the clergy to show us the path of martyrdom, that holy courage that defends the Truth at any cost. At least in the West, the cost is not too great. Yet.
In our own time, the price to be paid for fidelity to the Gospel is no longer being hanged, drawn and quartered but it often involves being dismissed out of hand, ridiculed or parodied. And yet, the Church cannot withdraw from the task of proclaiming Christ and his Gospel as saving truth, the source of our ultimate happiness as individuals and as the foundation of a just and humane society. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, London, England, September 18th, 2010; Zenit
A COLD SHOWER
Yes, it is late. Very late. So late, that the world will likely not listen any longer to the status quo of the pulpit… but they might listen to prophets.
Prophets, true prophets: those who risk their neck for proclaiming “the truth” even if uncomfortable, even if “it is not pleasant to listen to”… “A true prophet is one who is able to cry for the people and to say strong things when needed”… The Church needs prophets. These kinds of prophets. “I will say more: She needs us all to be prophets.” —POPE FRANCIS, Homily, Santa Marta; April 17th, 2018; Vatican Insider
Yes, it’s time that we comfortable Christians had a cold shower. Because the cost of our complacency can be counted in souls.
Following Christ demands the courage of radical choices, which often means going against the stream. “We are Christ!”, St Augustine exclaimed. The martyrs and witnesses of faith yesterday and today, including many lay faithful, show that, if necessary, we must not hesitate to give even our lives for Jesus Christ. —ST. JOHN PAUL II, Jubilee of the Apostolate of the Laity, n. 4
Those who remain silent, thinking that they are sowing peace, are only letting the weeds of wickedness take root. And when fully grown, they will choke out whatever false peace and security we have been clinging to. This has been repeated throughout the history of mankind and will happen again (see When Communism Returns). It is imperative that every Christian who has a voice today open their mouths to resist, not only the genocide of the unborn but the social experimentation with gender and the glorification of sexual immorality. Oh, what a whirlwind we will reap when today’s teenagers, brainwashed and manipulated, become tomorrow’s politicians and police force.
It’s not just mortal sin that excludes one from Paradise, but cowardice.
But as for cowards, the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste, sorcerers, idol-worshipers, and deceivers of every sort, their lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
If I say to the wicked, you shall surely die — and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade the wicked from their evil conduct in order to save their lives — then they shall die for their sin, but I will hold you responsible for their blood. (Ezekiel 3:18)
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38)
This does not mean, however, that we run into the streets damning souls to Hell. We must never forget what kind of prophets we are to be.
In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 1588
As St. Paul said in the Second Reading last Sunday:
…if I have the gift of prophecy, and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. (1 Cor 13:2)
We are prophets of Mercy, of He who is Love itself. If we exhort another, it is because we love them. If we correct another, we do it in charity. Our role is simply to speak the truth in love, in season and out, without attachment to the results.
The prophet is not a professional “reproacher”… No, they are people of hope. A prophet reproaches when necessary and opens doors overlooking the horizon of hope. But, the real prophet, if they do their job well, risks their neck… Prophets have always been persecuted for telling the truth. —POPE FRANCIS, Homily, Santa Marta; April 17th, 2018; Vatican Insider
THE DARKER IT GETS, THE BRIGHTER WE MUST BE
Last, I want to remind you of what St. Paul said in last Thursday’s reading at a time when the early Church thought that they, too, were living in the “end times.” Paul did not call the Body of Christ to build bunkers, store weapons, and pray for God’s justice to descend upon the wicked. Rather…
We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works… and this all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Heb 10: 24-25)
The darker it gets, the more we ought to be spreading the light. The more lies cover the earth, the more we ought to shout the truth! What an opportunity this is! We ought to shine like stars in this present darkness so that everyone knows who we are. Phil 2:15 Rouse each other to courage. Give an example to one another of your faithfulness. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of our faith:
For the sake of the joy that lay before him Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God. Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. (Today’s First Reading)
Prophets arise! Isn’t it time that we did?
Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places like the first apostles who preached Christ and the good news of salvation in the squares of cities, towns, and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel! It is the time to preach it from the rooftops. Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern “metropolis.” It is you who must “go out in the the byroads” and invite everyone you meet to the banquet which God has prepared for his people. The Gospel must not be kept hidden because of fear or indifference. It was never meant to be hidden away in private. It has to be put on a stand so that people may see its light and give praise to our heavenly Father. —POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II, World Youth Day, Denver, CO, 1993
My Young Priests, Be Not Afraid!
We are still well short of our ministry’s needs.
Please help us continue this apostolate for 2019!
Bless you and thank you!
Mark & Lea Mallett