The Everlasting Dominion

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for September 29th, 2014
Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels

Liturgical texts here


The Fig Tree

 

 

BOTH Daniel and St. John write of a terrible beast that rises to overwhelm the entire world for a short time… but is followed by the establishment of God’s Kingdom, “an everlasting dominion.” It is given not only to the one “like a son of man”, [1]cf. First reading but…

…the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High. (Dan 7:27)

This sounds like Heaven, which is why many mistakenly speak of the end of the world after the fall of this beast. But the Apostles and Church Fathers understood it differently. They anticipated that, at some point in the future, God’s Kingdom would come in a profound and universal way before the end of time.

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1. cf. First reading

The Power of the Resurrection

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for September 18th, 2014
Opt. Memorial of St. Januarius

Liturgical texts here

 

 

A LOT hinges on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. As St. Paul says today:

…if Christ has not been raised, then empty too is our preaching; empty, too, your faith. (First reading)

It’s all in vain if Jesus is not alive today. It would mean that death has conquered all and “you are still in your sins.”

But it is precisely the Resurrection that makes any sense of the early Church. I mean, if Christ had not risen, why would His followers go to their brutal deaths insisting on a lie, a fabrication, a thin hope? It’s not like they were trying to build a powerful organization—they chose a life of poverty and service. If anything, you’d think these men would have readily abandoned their faith in the face of their persecutors saying, “Well look, it was quite the three years we lived with Jesus! But no, he’s gone now, and that’s that.” The only thing that makes sense of their radical turnabout after His death is that they saw Him risen from the dead.

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Prophecy Properly Understood

 

WE are living in a time when prophecy has perhaps never been so important, and yet, so misunderstood by the vast majority of Catholics. There are three harmful positions being taken today regarding prophetic or “private” revelations that, I believe, are doing at times great damage in many quarters of the Church. One is that “private revelations” never have to be heeded since all we are obligated to believe is the definitive Revelation of Christ in the “deposit of faith.” Another harm being done is by those who tend to not only put prophecy above the Magisterium, but give it the same authority as Sacred Scripture. And last, there is the position that most prophecy, unless uttered by saints or found without error, should be mostly shunned. Again, all these positions above carry unfortunate and even dangerous pitfalls.

 

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On Becoming Holy

 


Young Woman Sweeping, Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864-1916)

 

 

I AM guessing that most of my readers feel that they are not holy. That holiness, saintliness, is in fact an impossibility in this life. We say, “I am too weak, too sinful, too frail to ever rise to the ranks of the righteous.” We read Scriptures like the following, and feel they were written on a different planet:

…as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, “Be holy because I am holy.” (1 Pet 1:15-16)

Or a different universe:

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt 5:48)

Impossible? Would God ask us—no, command us—to be something that we cannot? Oh yes, it is true, we cannot be holy without Him, He who is the source of all holiness. Jesus was blunt:

I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

The truth is—and Satan wishes to keep it far from you—holiness is not only possible, but it is possible right now.

 

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A Sliver of His Light

 

 

DO you feel as though you are an insignificant part of God’s plan? That you have little purpose or usefulness to Him or others? Then I hope you have read The Useless Temptation. However, I sense Jesus wanting to encourage you even more. In fact, it is crucial that you who are reading this understand: you were born for these times. Every single soul in the Kingdom of God is here by design, here with a specific purpose and role that is invaluable. That is because you make up part of “the light of the world,” and without you, the world loses a little color…. let me explain.

 

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Custody of the Heart


Times Square Parade, by Alexander Chen

 

WE are living in dangerous times. But few are those who realize it. What I’m speaking of is not the threat of terrorism, climate change, or nuclear war, but something more subtle and insidious. It is the advance of an enemy that has already gained ground in many homes and hearts and is managing to wreak ominous destruction as it spreads throughout the world:

Noise.

I am speaking of spiritual noise. A noise so loud to the soul, so deafening to the heart, that once it finds its way in, it obscures the voice of God, numbs the conscience, and blinds the eyes to seeing reality. It is one of the most dangerous enemies of our time because, while war and violence do harm to the body, noise is the killer of the soul. And a soul that has shut off the voice of God risks never hearing Him again in eternity.

 

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