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Archive for the ‘The Sword of Justice’ Category

This is Fr Robert Barron’s reflection for today. I’ve sensed this kind of theme from some of his other reflections for this year, but none as direct as this one. There were none of these judgement overtones in last years reflections.

Could God be any more clear?

 

LENT DAY 23 – GOD OF THE NATIONS

“While we take comfort from much of the Bible’s message, the Bible is not always comforting news. It often carries a message of warning and danger. During this penitential season, it’s good for us to attend to the darker side of the biblical message.

When we read about the pollution of the Lord’s Temple, we discover a familiar prophetic theme: the people have wandered from the ways of God, rendering impure what God intends to be just and upright. God sends prophet after prophet in order to bring his people back, but they are ignored, mocked, and rejected. Then God’s judgment falls on the unfaithful nation.

What is the instrument of God’s justice? In one case, it was the Chaldeans, one of the heathen nations. They came and destroyed the city of Jerusalem, burned the Temple, carried off its most sacred objects, and led the people into exile.

What was this? Dumb bad luck? Just the give and take of geo-political forces? No! The Bible insists that this should be read as God’s action, more specifically, as God’s judgment and punishment. How at odds this is with the typically modern Enlightenment view, according to which religion is a private matter, confined to the heart and the mind of the individual. For the biblical authors, God is the Lord of history and time, and hence the Lord of nations and the Lord of nature. His works and actions must be discerned in all events.

If you want an example of a boldly theological reading of political events, look to Karl Barth, widely considered one of the greatest Protestant theologians of the twentieth century. At the start of the First World War, Barth was a country pastor in Switzerland who had been trained in the confident liberal theology that was all the rage around the turn of the last century. This theology shared the common view that with the rise of the natural sciences, the development of technology, and with political and cultural liberation, human beings could build the Kingdom of God here on earth.

From the quiet of his parsonage in Switzerland, Barth followed the horrors of the First World War, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands, the devastation of nations, the collapse of the European social order. Then something dawned on him: it was precisely the inflated self-regard and hubris of nineteenth-century liberalism that led to this disaster.

He saw the European powers as descendants of the Tower of Babel builders, attempting to reach up to God on their own terms and in their own way. Behind the sunny confidence of the liberal period, he discerned arrogance, imperialism, and colonialism. The advances of science were made possible through the rape of the environment and economic comfort for some was made possible through the enslavement of others.

In the end, bad personal habits have bad consequences, but bad national habits have bad consequences as well.”

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In our days, when in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel, the overriding priority is to make God present in this world and to show men and women the way to God. Not just any god, but the God who spoke on Sinai; to that God whose face we recognize in a love which presses “to the end” (cf. Jn 13:1)—in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. The real problem at this moment of our history is that God is disappearing from the human horizon, and, with the dimming of the light which comes from God, humanity is losing its bearings, with increasingly evident destructive effects.Letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to All the Bishops of the World, March 10, 2009; Catholic Online

The End of the Age is upon us.

3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Take heed that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: 8 all this is but the beginning of the labor pains. Matthew 24:3-8

Already we can see the start of these labor pains. Just look at the headlines. We see disasters of biblical proportions, happening all over the world… And, there’s no telling where the next one will be.

Wars, famines, plagues, and persecutions. Elements of the seals of revelation have always been present in the world to varying degrees throughout history. But it seemed to me the last few years that these types of events, especially catastrophic natural disasters were increasing in frequency. And now we’re seeing these things more and more, not just in specific regions, but on a global scale.

I know it’s not what we want to hear about, but the truth is the Popes have been warning us for the last century that these things are here and coming. If we’re going to have to face them then shouldn’t we at least have a real honest discussion about them, and seek God’s guidance on the days we are living in?

 

Jesus warned us that these things would come like a thief in the night. Listen, the noise of the world has lulled many of us to sleep! We are spellbound by store shelves overflowing with things we don’t need, distracted by all our devices and toys and so caught up in social media that we barely notice as life goes right by. So few people realize the utter illusion our society has become:

The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ. —POPE FRANCIS, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 2

And so, the troubles will only continue until the world turns back to God.

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Do not be afraid to go out into the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the good news of salvation in the city squares, towns, and villages. This is not 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 modern “metropolis.” It is you who must go out into the by-rounds 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 is has to be put on a stand so that people may see its light and give praise to the Heavenly Father.” -John Paul II, World Youth Day ’93

 

Christians, are we going to bury our heads in the sand or have a real honest look at where we are in the world! Because the truth is because souls are being lost and it’s not a game. Jesus didn’t come and die on a cross as some nice little gesture, he gave his life to save each and every one of His children!! There is a real growing opportunity right now and so many are silent. We need to wake up, and proclaim! The cost of our silence will be measured in souls.

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Further Reading:

The Last Hour

 

 

 

 

 

 

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