End Times

WeeklyMessage

 

Father Jame Gilhooley
November 17, 2013
Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

Luke 21:5-19

I was pulling out from the curb. Then I noticed a police 
ticket on my windshield. I pulled over. Happily it was not a ticket but a pamphlet. It invited me to consider where I wanted to spend eternity. Inside the pamphlet was a laboriously written note with many misspellings. It warned me about the imminent arrival of the Second Coming.

I have smiled patronizingly at people who hand out such end- of-the-world pamphlets and messages. I fear my attitude matched that of Mark Twain’s. When told the world was coming to an end, he snapped, “Good. We can do without it.”

However, my patronizing days are done. The late Scripture scholar Raymond Brown advises that end-of-the-world people perform a valuable service for us. They keep the Second Coming before our eyes.

People such as these forcefully remind us of our own belief. After all, in each Sunday’s Liturgy  we recite in the Nicene Creed, “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” After the Consecration, we say, “Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again.” Finally in the Pater Noster we pray for the Second Coming in the prayer Jesus Himself taught us. We even beg, “Thy kingdom come.” Rightly so! Pierre Teilhard de Chardin tells us “we must renew in ourselves the desire for the great coming.”

We share faith in the Parousia with a good number of our fellow citizens. A US News and World Report tells of a poll it conducted. Almost sixty percent of Americans believe the world is slated to come to an abrupt ending. About fifty percent are convinced there will be an anti-Christ. Twenty percent believe the Second Coming and anti-Christ will appear in a few years.

We would be unwise to get into the predicting business. Many religious groups in our lifetime have grandly prophesied both the day, hour, and minute. For their efforts they have come up with scrambled eggs spread most ignobly across their respective faces. We had best take the advice of Jesus we know not the day nor the hour. Indeed the prophet advises, “Plan then as if Christ’s return were years away, but live as though it were today.

The Fifth Lateran Council of the early sixteenth century expressly forbade anyone of us looking into a crystal ball. It denied us the questionable luxury of predicting either the time of the Second Coming or the arrival of the anti-Christ. It was a sound prohibition then. It remains so today no matter what the temptation may be to the contrary. Vincent McCorry put it this way, “What matters is not the timing but the fact.”

In the meantime, we Christians have much to do. Unlike the people who St Paul sternly admonishes in his second letter to the Thessalonians (3:7-12), we cannot idle our time away. Nor can we afford the luxury, as Paul says, of minding everybody’s business but our own.

We must attempt to become more exciting Catholics. One way of doing that is by making the world about us a more attractive place to live in. Charles Dickens has said that no one is useless in the world who lightens the burden of it for someone else. But Dickens would endorse the line that true love is an action, not just a feeling.

It is estimated that thirty three million Americans are poor. And perhaps as many as another thirty million are on the ropes financially. Many of these are children.

That so many of our fellow citizens, some of them infants, go to bed hungry each night is a scandal we Catholics cannot ignore. We must demand systemic changes in our structures. But more importantly we must work for them.

To be a Catholic today requires that we be a counter-cultural people. What a force for good we could be! We make up an astounding 23% of the US population.

Perhaps you may find your mandate in this summation written by some clever author. “It is up to you to illumine the area about you. You do not have to groan over everything your community lacks. You are there to bring it what it needs. Where hatred, malice, and discord reign, you will put love, pardon, and peace. For lying you will bring truth. For despair, hope. For doubt, faith. There where there is sadness, you will give joy.”

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Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
November 17, 2013

The Passage through a Passing World. A homily for the 33rd Sunday of the Year
In the month of November the Church has us ponder the Four Last Things: death judgment, heaven and hell. As the golden gown of autumn gives way to the lifeless look of winter we too are encouraged to see that our own lives are on a trajectory that leads ultimately to autumn and then the winter of death. But for those who have faith this passage to death leads ultimately to glory.  Scripture says, And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever (1 John 2:17).
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Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 21:5-19
Gospel Summary

It has been traditional to reflect on an end-of-the-world gospel passage as we approach the end of the liturgical year. We will also be offered a similar gospel passage on the First Sunday of Advent. It is important to note this because, from a biblical perspective, the end of one world is not such a tragic event since it also announces the beginning of a new one. A sorrowful Goodbye must sometimes be accepted before there can be a joyous Hello!
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Hasten the End – Apocalypse Now!
The Apocalypse — What does the Bible really teach about the End of the World, Armageddon, the second coming of Jesus Christ and the ultimate defeat of Satan and the Antichrist?  The gospels and the book of Revelation raise many apocalyptic questions for Christians that demand reflection.
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33rd Sunday: The Time We Have Left
Their forty year old son had attacked his father.  For years he had treated him as though he were an ignorant old man. But this time he pushed the envelope. He called his father stupid. The man’s wife was livid.  After all they did for this son, he should act like that.  Nothing could hurt her worse than seeing how her husband was treated. But she was shocked when her husband said, “Dear, let it go.  They are only words.”  

“How can you say, that?” she screamed. “He is going against everything we raised him to be.  Where is his respect for his parents?”
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21 Things We Do When We Make the Sign of the Cross
The Sign of the Cross is a simple gesture yet a profound expression of faith for both Catholic and Orthodox Christians. As Catholics, it’s something we do when we enter a church, after we receive Communion, before meals, and every time we pray. But what exactly are we doing when we make the Sign of the Cross? Here are 21 things:
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Pope Francis:The Weak and Suffering Are a Richness for the Church’
VATICAN CITY — In a meeting with an Italian organization dedicated to helping those in poor health go on pilgrimage, Pope Francis reminded the ill and infirm that they have a true role in the Church.
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Pope Francis: Entrust Yourself to the Loving Hands That Formed You
People must choose to face death ‘belonging to the devil’ or entrusting themselves to the loving hands of God, the Pope said. In his Tuesday daily homily, Pope Francis recalled how God formed man with his own hand and emphasized that God is a Father who seeks to console his children rather than hurt them.
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God in the Dock: Tragedy and Trilemma
The day after my son Joshua died, after the necessary funeral and burial arrangements had been made, I got into my car, drove aimlessly some distance, and finally parked in a relatively desolate place away from traffic, noise, and people. I turned the car off and began to talk out loud to God, but at a volume more accurately described with the term ‘yell.’ “Why? Why him? He had done absolutely nothing wrong. He most certainly didn’t deserve this. He suffered so much over these last two years. How could you let this happen?
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What is Revelation?
“Revelation” is a mysterious-sounding word.

Sometimes it conjures visions in our minds of the end of the world. That happens when we think of the last book of the Bible—the Book of Revelation.

But even when the word isn’t being used that way, it suggests something powerful and mysterious.
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On What Is Impossible to God
In a letter to the Corinthians, Pope St. Clement (d. 99 A.D.) wrote: “Nothing is impossible to God except to tell a lie.” Technically, a lie is deliberately to state in words something that we do not hold in our understanding. For God to “lie” would mean that He informed us of one thing but He really stood for something else. Logically, this position would mean that God created in His Word a universe that did not reflect His being.
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The Real Survival Message-Learn to Hear The Voice of God
I have been talking and writing since 2008 about the very hard times to come for Catholics and others.

The signs of the times are what people have seen before, and the Christians in Rome faced similar serious difficulties. Too many Catholics are living in cloud-cuckoo-land. Many Catholics are not facing the signs of the times.

Everything is not alright and things are not going to get better. If you are still living in denial, let me warn you that you must stop hiding from reality.
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Mary’s Role in Thanksgiving Day
You don’t need me to remind you that this is a time to be thankful.  I’m sure that, like me, you’re hearing it everywhere.

Sometimes, when I’m doing these thankful exercises, I start out specific and work my way into general things.  I might think about the food that feeds my family; the work that provides the money for the food, the store in town where I buy it; the farmers who work so hard in the fields around our house; the system that allows us to have access to so much food.
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Converted by Beauty – A True Story
Here is a true story from a convert to Catholicism. We’ll call him Tom. Names and places have been changed…

Dear Fr Longenecker,

When I came to Greenville my life was a mess. My marriage had just broken down. I wound up in your town.

I was brought up in a country Pentecostal holiness church. Now in middle age that simply doesn’t work. I was looking for something more–some way to find Christ again.
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Start Praying Lectio Divina
Pope Benedict XVI encourages us to go deeper in our prayer life by using a classical method—Lectio Divina.  The retired Pontiff strongly exhorted followers of Christ to utilize the Word of God as fertile ground for delving into the depths of prayer.

Our intention in this short article is to offer the steps the Holy Father suggests and a touch more to motivate us to never tire in growing in our union with God through a deeper prayer life. Prayer has no limits given that prayer is union with an eternal and infinite God!  Here are the steps…..
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3 Ways NOT to Share the Trinity
The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the “central mystery of [our] faith” (CCC 234). It is therefore the most fundamental. If we get it wrong, then everything else get’s obscured or perverted.

Since the mystery of the Trinity is “the mystery of God in himself” (CCC 234), humility is required here.

A mystery, it has been said, is not something that is unknowable, but infinitely knowable. That may not be true of some things we call mysteries, but it is of God.
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How 15 Minutes of Prayer Can Change Your Life
In today’s secular world, where many have little or no thought of God, there are still those who desire a true, authentic relationship with God.

Many observe his Ten Commandments, attend Mass faithfully on Sundays and holy days and pray daily. Some even attend Mass during the week.

But in spite of that, they may have the impression that something is lacking in their relationship with God, that it could be deeper and more intimate.
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A Reflection on the Modern Error of Preaching Mercy without Repentance
There are of course many ways of describing the pastoral, liturgical and theological struggles of our day. But one very simple way of describing current problems that touches on all these areas is simply this:  that a presumptive attitude of mercy without repentance is both taught and widely held by far too many modern Catholics, and other Christians.

There is much talk of how God loves us, is rich in mercy, is kind and forgiving. And all of these things are true. But another essential truth is that these gifts, these essential attributes of God, are accessed by repentance. It is repentance that opens the door to mercy, forgiveness, and kindness.
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Scripture Speaks: Time to Be Bold
Jesus once overheard a conversation about the glory of the Temple in Jerusalem.  He then made a startling prediction.  What was it?

Gospel (Read Lk 21:5-19)

St. Luke tells us Jesus had a conversation with His disciples about the Temple in Jerusalem.  It began when “some people were speaking about how the Temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings.”  To the Jews of Jesus’ day, the Temple was the signature symbol of their long covenant with God as His people.  It was the place on earth where God and man literally met, an encounter that took place once a year in its inner chamber, the Holy of Holies.
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Bring the Sacraments Home
Whether, Baptism, first Confession, First Communion, or Confirmation, preparing to receive the Sacraments is a big step in our children’s lives and a huge opportunity to do more in our families to help deepen their experience of the faith.
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Why Come To Holy Mass?
Father has placed this notice in the extended Bulletin he is preparing piece by piece for Christmas. I thought it might be useful for parents to print off for their pre-teen children who might ask, “Why should we come to Mass? Is it really important and does it do us any good?”. I hope you find it useful.
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How Faith Conquers Worry
Pope Francis’s encyclical on faith may seem like old news compared to the headlines he’s made since he released it. There is robably enough material in that one little document to keep me writing for the rest of the year though, and I think it deserves much more attention than its been given. Obviously I read it with my psychology lenses on, which is only one perspective.

The introduction to the encyclical reminds us that Christ says, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” It is this distinction between the light and the dark that I want to elaborate on.
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A Further Comment on Tradition
Not too long ago I posted an essay called, “Tradition as Poetry: A Proposal.” In it, I argued that young theologians often find themselves wedged between the tradition of their faith commitment and the tradition of academia. Since that time, a number of friends and colleagues have written to me to ask what I meant by the “tradition of academia.” Some were concerned that I was unfairly characterizing academic institutions as inherently irreligious or critical of religious worldviews. One person accused me of sounding like “Tertullian in his obstinate refusal to recognize the compatibility of Athens and Jerusalem.” The purpose of this essay is to respond to these critiques.
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Bury the Dead! The Church’s teaching on cremation
Recently, after offering prayers at a wake, I was a bit surprised to see that the funeral home had set up a display where they were selling a variety of different pieces of jewelry. Upon closer inspection, the pieces for sale (including pendants, bracelets, necklaces, rings, and even key‑chains) were not ordinary jewelry:  rather they were all designed to carry bits of cremains:  the ashes of a deceased person who had been cremated. As one on‑line company advertises, “Along with the rising number of cremations in recent years comes a wide range of options for storing cremated remains and memorializing deceased loved ones. Among those options, cremation jewelry is quickly becoming a favorite choice of survivors who wish to pay tribute to their departed loved ones and hold them forever close at heart.”
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Bringing Holiness Door-to-Door
Mother Mary Teresa Tallon’s cause for canonization was advanced by the U.S. bishops this week.

MONROE, N.Y. — The Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate, based in Monroe, N.Y., make it their mission to spread the Gospel door-to-door.

Founded by Mother Mary Teresa Tallon in August 1920, the order now has convents in the Bronx, Arizona, Nigeria and the Philippines.
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God vs. ‘Just Because’: Two Explanations for Objective Morality
EDITOR’S NOTE: Today continues our eight-part debate on the resolution, “Does objective morality depend on the existence of God?” We’ll hear from two sharp young thinkers. Joe Heschmeyer, a Catholic seminarian in Kansas City, Kansas, will argue the affirmative view. Steven Dillon, a gifted philosopher and a former Catholic seminarian, will argue the negative. The eight parts will run as follows:
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