The Last Judgments

 


 

I believe that the vast majority of the Book of Revelation refers, not to the end of the world, but to the end of this era. Only the last few chapters really look at the very end of the world while everything else before mostly describes a “final confrontation” between the “woman” and the “dragon”, and all the terrible effects in nature and society of a general rebellion that accompanies it. What divides that final confrontation from the end of the world is a judgment of the nations—what we are primarily hearing in this week’s Mass readings as we approach the first week of Advent, the preparation for Christ’s coming.

For the past two weeks I keep hearing the words in my heart, “Like a thief in the night.” It is the sense that events are coming upon the world that are going to take many of us by surprise, if not many of us home. We need to be in a “state of grace,” but not a state of fear, for anyone of us could be called home at any moment. With that, I feel compelled to republish this timely writing from December 7th, 2010…

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Sin that Keeps us from the Kingdom

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for October 15th, 2014
Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Liturgical texts here

 

 

 

Genuine freedom is an outstanding manifestation of the divine image in man. —SAINT JOHN PAUL II, Veritatis Splendor, n. 34

 

TODAY, Paul moves from explaining how Christ has set us free for freedom, to being specific as to those sins that lead us, not only into slavery, but even eternal separation from God: immorality, impurity, drinking bouts, envy, etc.

I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (First reading)

How popular was Paul for saying these things? Paul didn’t care. As he said himself earlier in his letter to the Galatians:

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Be Merciful

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for March 14th, 2014
Friday of the First Week of Lent

Liturgical texts here

 

 

ARE you merciful? It is not one of those questions that we should toss in with others such as, “Are you extroverted, a choleric, or introverted, etc.” No, this question lies at the very heart of what it means to be an authentic Christian:

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36)

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The Survivors

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for December 2nd, 2013

Liturgical texts here

 

 

THERE are some texts in Scripture that, admittedly, are troubling to read. Today’s first reading contains one of them. It speaks of a coming time when the Lord will wash away “the filth of the daughters of Zion”, leaving behind a branch, a people, who are His “luster and glory.”

…the fruit of the earth will be honor and splendor for the survivors of Israel. He who remains in Zion and he who is left in Jerusalem will be called holy: every one marked down for life in Jerusalem. (Isaiah 4:3)

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Fresh Breeze

 

 

THERE is a new breeze blowing through my soul. In the darkest of nights these past several months, it has been barely a whisper. But now it is beginning to sail through my soul, lifting my heart toward Heaven in a new way. I sense the love of Jesus for this little flock gathered here daily for Spiritual Food. It is a love that conquers. A love that has overcome the world. A love that will overcome all that is coming against us in the times ahead. You who are coming here, be of courage! Jesus is going to feed and strengthen us! He is going to equip us for the Great Trials that now loom over the world like a woman about to enter hard labour.

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Charismatic! Part VII

 

THE point of this entire series on the charismatic gifts and movement is to encourage the reader to not be afraid of the extraordinary in God! To not be afraid to “open wide your hearts” to the gift of the Holy Spirit whom the Lord wishes to pour out in a special and powerful way in our times. As I read the letters sent to me, it is clear that the Charismatic Renewal has not been without its sorrows and failures, its human deficiencies and weaknesses. And yet, this is precisely what occurred in the early Church after Pentecost. Saints Peter and Paul devoted much space to correcting the various churches, moderating the charisms, and refocusing the budding communities over and over again upon the oral and written tradition that was being handed on to them. What the Apostles did not do is deny the often dramatic experiences of believers, try to stifle the charisms, or silence the zeal of thriving communities. Rather, they said:

Do not quench the Spirit… pursue love, but strive eagerly for the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy… above all, let your love for one another be intense… (1 Thess 5:19; 1 Cor 14:1; 1 Pet 4:8)

I want to devote the last part of this series to sharing my own experiences and reflections since I first experienced the charismatic movement in 1975. Rather than give my entire testimony here, I will restrict it to those experiences one might call “charismatic.”

 

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Charismatic? Part VI

pentecost3_FotorPentecost, Artist Unknown

  

PENTECOST is not only a single event, but a grace that the Church can experience again and again. However, in this past century, the popes have been praying not only for a renewal in the Holy Spirit, but for a “new Pentecost”. When one considers all the signs of the times that have accompanied this prayer—key among them the continued presence of the Blessed Mother gathering with her children on earth through ongoing apparitions, as though she were once again in the “upper room” with the Apostles… the words of the Catechism take on a new sense of immediacy:

…at the “end time” the Lord’s Spirit will renew the hearts of men, engraving a new law in them. He will gather and reconcile the scattered and divided peoples; he will transform the first creation, and God will dwell there with men in peace.Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 715

This time when the Spirit comes to “renew the face of the earth” is the period, after the death of Antichrist, during what the Church Father’s pointed to in St. John’s Apocalypse as the “thousand year” era when Satan is chained in the abyss.Continue reading

Charismatic? Part V

 

 

AS we look at the Charismatic Renewal today, we see a great decline in its numbers, and those who remain are mostly grey and white-haired. What, then, was the Charismatic Renewal all about if it appears on the surface to be fizzling? As one reader wrote in response to this series:

At some point the Charismatic movement vanished like fireworks that light up the night sky and then fall back into the darkenss. I was somewhat puzzled that a move of Almighty God would wane and finally fade away.

The answer to this question is perhaps the most important aspect of this series, for it helps us to understand not only where we’ve come from, but what the future holds for the Church…

 

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Charismatic? Part IV

 

 

I have been asked before if I am a “Charismatic.” And my answer is, “I am Catholic!” That is, I want to be fully Catholic, to live in the center of the deposit of faith, the heart of our mother, the Church. And so, I strive to be “charismatic”, “marian,” “contemplative,” “active,” “sacramental,” and “apostolic.” That is because all of the above belong not to this or that group, or this or that movement, but to the entire body of Christ. While apostolates may vary in the focus of their particular charism, in order to be fully alive, fully “healthy,” one’s heart, one’s apostolate, should be open to the entire treasury of grace that the Father has bestowed upon the Church.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens… (Eph 1:3)

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The Verdict

 

AS my recent ministry tour progressed, I felt a new weight in my soul, a heaviness of heart unlike previous missions the Lord has sent me on. After preaching about His love and mercy, I asked the Father one night why the world… why anyone would not want to open their hearts to Jesus who has given so much, who has never hurt a soul, and who has burst open the gates of Heaven and gained every spiritual blessing for us through His death upon the Cross?

The answer came swiftly, a word from the Scriptures themselves:

And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. (John 3:19)

The growing sense, as I’ve meditated on this word, is that it is a definitive word for our times, indeed a verdict for a world now upon the threshold of extraordinary change….

 

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