THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for Tuesday, December 13th, 2016
Opt. Memorial of St. John of the Cross
Liturgical texts here
From the Creation of Adam, Michelangelo, c. 1511
“OH well, I tried.”
Somehow, after thousands of years of salvation history, the suffering, death and Resurrection of the Son of God, the arduous journey of the Church and her saints through the centuries… I doubt those will be the Lord’s words in the end. Scripture tells us otherwise:
By myself I swear, uttering my just decree and my unalterable word: To me every knee shall bend; by me every tongue shall swear, saying, “Only in the LORD are just deeds and power. Before him in shame shall come all who vent their anger against him. In the LORD shall be the vindication and the glory of all the descendants of Israel. (Today’s first reading)
God’s Word will be vindicated. His promises will be fulfilled: creation will be renewed, although not perfectly until the end of human history. But within time, the Scriptures speak of a triumph of Christ in which His peace and Gospel will reach the ends of the earth.
Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven. (Today’s Psalm)
Wisdom will be vindicated. The following was first published December 18th, 2007…
THE VINDICATION OF WISDOM
THE Day of the Lord is drawing nearer. It is a Day when the manifold Wisdom of God will be made known to the nations.
Wisdom… hastens to make herself known in anticipation of men’s desire; he who watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate. (Wis 6:12-14)
The question may be asked, “Why would the Lord purify the earth for a ‘thousand year’ period of peace? Why wouldn’t He just return and usher in the New Heavens and New Earth for eternity?”
The answer I hear is,
The vindication of Wisdom.
AM I NOT JUST?
Didn’t God promise that the meek would inherit the earth? Didn’t He promise that the Jewish people would return to their land to live in peace? Is there not the promise of a Sabbath rest for the People of God? Furthermore, should the cry of the poor go unheeded? Should Satan have the last say, that God could not bring peace and justice to the earth as the Angels announced to the Shepherds? Should the saints never reign, the Gospel fail to reach all nations, and the glory of God fall short of the ends of the earth?
Shall I bring a mother to the point of birth, and yet not let her child be born? says the LORD; or shall I who allow her to conceive, yet close her womb? (Isaiah 66:9)
No, God is not going to fold His hands and say, “Well, I tried.” Rather, His Word promises that the Saints will triumph and that the Woman will crush the serpent beneath her heel. That within the period of time and history, before Satan’s last attempt to crush the seed of the Woman, God will vindicate His children.
So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, Until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch. Nations shall behold your vindication, and all kings your glory; You shall be called by a new name pronounced by the mouth of the LORD… To the victor I shall give some of the hidden manna; I shall also give a white amulet upon which is inscribed a new name, which no one knows except the one who receives it. (Isaiah 62:1-2; Rev 2:17)
THE WISDOM OF WISDOM
In Prophetic Perspective, I explained that the promises of God are directed toward the Church as a whole, that is, the trunk and branches—not the leaves alone, that is, individuals. Thus, souls will come and go, but the Tree itself will continue to grow until God’s promises are fulfilled.
Wisdom is vindicated by all her children. (Luke 7:35)
The plan of God, unfolding in our time, is not divided from the Body of Christ already in Heaven, nor from the part of the Body being purified in Purgatory. They are mystically united to the Tree on earth, and as such, participate in the vindication of the plans of God through their prayers and communion with us through the Holy Eucharist.
We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses. (Heb 12:1)
So when we say that Mary will triumph through the little remnant being formed today, that is her heel, it is a vindication of all those before us who have chosen the path of repentance and spiritual childhood. This is why there is a “first resurrection”—so that the Saints, in supernatural ways, can participate in the “era of vindication” (see The Coming Resurrection). Thus, Mary’s Magnificat becomes a word that is both fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled.
His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever. (Luke 1:50-55)
Within the Blessed Mother’s prayer lies the vindication which Christ has brought, and is yet to bring: the humbling of the mighty, the fall of Babylon and worldly powers, the answer to the cry of the poor, and the fulfillment of the covenant with the descendants of Abraham as Zechariah also prophesied (see Luke 1:68-73).
VINDICATION OF CREATION
So too, says St. Paul, does all creation groan awaiting this vindication of the children of God. And thus it says in Matthew 11:19:
Wisdom is vindicated by her works. (Matt 11:19)
Nature is tied to the fate of man in so far as man responds to nature as either its steward or its oppressor. And thus, as the Day of the Lord nears, the very foundations of the earth will shake, the winds will speak, and the creatures of the sea, air, and land will rebel against the sins of man until Christ the King liberates creation too. His plan in nature will also be vindicated until at last He ushers in a New heavens and New earth at the end of time. For as St. Thomas Aquinas said, creation is the “first gospel”; God has made his power and divinity known through creation, and will speak through it again.
Until the end, we renew our hope in a Sabbath, a rest for God’s people, a Great Jubilee when Wisdom is vindicated.
THE GREAT JUBILEE
There is a Jubilee to be experienced by the People of God before the Final Coming of Christ.
…that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Eph 2:7)
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. Wherefore he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the contrite of heart, to preach deliverance to the captives, and sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of reward. (Luke 4:18-19)
In the Latin Vulgate, it says et diem retributionis “a day of retribution”. The literal meaning of “retribution” here is “giving back”, that is justice, a just recompense for the good as well as for the bad, reward as well as punishment. Thus the Day of the Lord which is dawning is both terrible and good. It is terrible for those who do not repent, but good for those who trust in the mercy and promises of Jesus.
Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you. (Isaiah 35:4)
Thus, Heaven calls us again through Mary to “prepare!”
The Jubilee which is coming is the one prophesied by Pope John Paul II—a “millennium” of peace when the Prince of Peace’s law of love will be established; when the Will of God will be men’s food; when God’s designs in creation will prove to be right (revealing the wrongness of man’s pride in taking power through genetic modifications); when the glory and purpose of human sexuality will renew the face of the earth; when the Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist will shine forth before the nations; when the prayer for unity Jesus offered comes into fruition, when Jews and Gentiles worship together the same Messiah… when the bride of Christ will be made beautiful and spotless, ready to be presented to Him for His final return in glory.
Your divine commandments are broken, your Gospel is thrown aside, torrents of iniquity flood the whole earth carrying away even your servants… Will everything come to the same end as Sodom and Gomorrah? Will you never break your silence? Will you tolerate all this for ever? Is it not true that your will must be done on earth as it is in heaven? Is it not true that your kingdom must come? Did you not give to some souls, dear to you, a vision of the future renewal of the Church? —St. Louis de Montfort, Prayer for Missionaries, n. 5; www.ewtn.com
THE FATHER’S PLAN
Is not the Heavenly Father the grower of this Tree we call the Church? There is coming a day when the Father will prune the dead branches, and from the remnant, a purified trunk, will rise a humble people who will reign with His Eucharistic Son—a beautiful, productive vine, bearing fruit through the Holy Spirit. Jesus has already fulfilled this promise in His first coming, and will fulfill it again in history through the vindication of His Word—the Sword coming from the mouth of the Rider upon the white Horse—and then will fulfill it finally and for all eternity at the end of time, when He returns in glory.
COME LORD JESUS!
Through the tender mercy of our God… the day shall dawn upon us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:78-79)
Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end. The Last Judgment will reveal that God’s justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God’s love is stronger than death. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.1040
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