Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Our Need of Conversion Before the Great Day of Retribution
Rejoicing is a theme that runs through the readings (Isaiah 66:10-14; Luke 10:1-12, 17-20). For the Jews, the joy erupts from having been returned to their homeland after having been exiled. In the Gospel, the apostles learn that true joy comes from our names being written in heaven.
Hearing these readings on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday we must ask: how much rejoicing is there among Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders? Today is a wonderful day to reflect on what we might be able to do to help them feel the joy of the Jews at getting their land back. But more importantly, we are bound to pray for their conversion that they may experience the true joy of the apostles whose names were written in heaven. We need to pray this also for ourselves because we are all in need of conversion.
Dear friends, we are living in uncharted times. Was there a firefight between US and Russian submarines off Alaska last Tuesday? The Russians have classified this. Yesterday British Navy marines seized an Iranian oil tanker; currently fighting escalates in Jerusalem, flooding prevails in Japan and China, and an even larger earthquake occurred in California.
The real sign of the times is the Apostasy in the Church. Cardinal Müller warned earlier this year about “the last trial of the Church ...[leading to] religious delusion ...apostasy ...[and] the fraud of Antichrist. So it is my belief that the seals of the scroll in the book of Revelation (chapters 5-8) are ‘being opened.’ I think we are now seeing the full ‘unfolding’ of the Lord’s victory, now within the members of the Church.
St Victorinus explains, saying that “after the Lord ascended into heaven and opened all things, he sent the Holy Spirit [to dwell within the Church], whose words [are] …as arrows reaching to the human heart, that they might overcome unbelief.” He’s referring to the opening of the seals and sending the 1st horseman of the apocalypse, riding on a white horse with a bow.
The 1st horseman is the Church that shares in Christ’s victory “to exact vengeance upon the nations, to impose punishment on the peoples …to carry out the sentence that has been passed” (Psalm 149) on those who refuse the Word of God. The members of Christ’s Body become judgment upon those who refuse God’s Word, as a Christians life scandalises theirs. Instead of Jesus, we become a stumbling stone (Matthew 21:44) to them.
The 2nd horseman with sword and who “takes peace from the earth” naturally follows because after judgment, sifting/separation follows. Jesus himself said "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). Those who refuse God whose demand on us is absolute, will wage war against the godly.
The 3rd horseman with scales cries “a ration of wheat for a day’s wages.” We see this rorting in the economic system in Venezuela. At 10 000 000% inflation “a ration of wheat costs [more than] a day’s pay” whilst the elite lack no luxury. Economic chaos and famine are coming with the breaking of the third seal: justice will not be tolerated.
The 4th seal leads to massive deaths by the “sword, famine, and plague.” War, famine, abortion, euthanasia, super-bugs resistant to antibiotics ...sword, famine, and plague are going to come upon us like never before with “the final unleashing of evil” (Catechism, 677).
World-wide revolution, due to the opposition of the ungodly to the breaking of the seals that unleash the fullness of life, will overflow into a revolution against the Church. Why? Darkness hates the light. Hence, the 5th seal is persecution – people “killed on account of the Word of God.” Think of Israel Folau or the hatred for the seal of the confessional (or Cardinal Pell). Here we need to be wary of communism which is prophesied to come again to openly persecute the Church, even preventing priests from saying Mass.
When the Church seems to be destroyed the opening of the 6th seal will bring about the warning –the illumination of souls– which is to prepare us for the Great Day of retribution for “who can face it” otherwise? In a message to Fr. Stefano Gobbi Our Lady says, “The Holy Spirit will come to establish the glorious reign of Christ...With His divine love, He will open the doors of hearts and illuminate all consciences. Every person will see himself in the burning fire of divine truth. It will be like a judgment in miniature. And then Jesus Christ will bring His glorious reign in the world” (May 1988).
The 7th refers to a purification to perhaps inaugurate this Great Day as “fire from the altar is hurled down onto the earth.” More than this we don’t know but we can anticipate these biblical events through the help of private revelation such as the appearing of the anti-Christ six weeks after the warning. This is in front of us. The key to our preparedness is our conversion.
Today is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday when we can reflect on what we might be able to do to help our Indigenous brethren to feel the joy of the Jews at getting their land back. But more importantly, we need to pray for their conversion that they may experience the true joy of the apostles whose names were written in heaven. We need to pray this also for ourselves because we are all in need of conversion.
We stand immediately before the Great Day of retribution. Don’t be afraid. The Church will be purified and then Jesus will bring His glorious reign into the world. But do regularly frequent confession and Eucharist which are our greatest help to prepare for that Day.