Twentieth Sunday C
The signs of the Lord's 2nd coming
What have we got? Poor old Jeremiah stuck in the mud and St Paul who exhorts us to fight against sin that clings to us so easily, just like mud. In the Gospel we have baptism, the bringing of fire to the earth, distress and division – it’s not peace that Jesus brings, but division. The struggle against sin, division and distress are all themes from the readings this week.
This is all a part of living in the end times. And although we don’t know the day or hour, Jesus invites us to attend to the signs of the coming of the Son of man (Mt 24:30-36). Recently, we have reflected upon the breaking of the seals of the apocalypse (Rev 6-8) and how this unleashes God’s judgment, war, economic chaos and famine, and death. Then persecution, illumination and purification – all leading up to the day of the Lord.
We have also reflected on the scriptural idea that the Great Revolt – which we seem to be experiencing today, is the great sign of this happening. And when Lord does appear, he will come amid flaming fire (2 Th 2:7-8) which we hear again today, “I have come to bring fire” (Lk 12:49-53). Also we read in Revelation that, “fire from the altar [will be] hurled down onto the earth” (Rv 8:5). Fire means purification. Divine love purifies! So when the Lord comes, it will be to purify the world.
Before this happens we enter the time of the Great Revolt (2 Th 2:3) or apostasy which we are currently in. This time of rebellion that St Pauls warns us is leading to the 2nd coming, is prophesied by the Lord himself who said, “people will be deceived, lawlessness will increase, love in most people will have grown cold ...the kingdom will have been proclaimed to the whole world as evidence, and then the end will come” (Mt 24:11-14). Apostasy and judgment.
There is, however, ‘something’ restraining the wicked One from appearing and for all this to come to pass. Scripture says that once this is removed, the wicked one will appear openly (2 Th 2:6-7). Since the Paschal mystery that is the source of God’s grace and presence, the Mass qualifies as that ‘thing.’ Changing the Mass or forbidding it would abolish the Sacrifice and remove the Lord’s presence, thus allowing the abomination of desolation to enter the Church and the horrible sacrilege to occur (Mt 24,15).
We are on the precipice. Rebellion and revolt are worldwide. It has come because we have apostatised from God. We do not accept the authority of God and of our Lord Jesus today. Religious deception has come upon us because we have no love for the truth. St Paul continues, God will send on people a power that deludes them, so they believe what is false and take pleasure in their wickedness (2 Th 2:11-12).
And we truly have apostatised from God: gay and lesbian marriage is okay, killing unborn babies and killing terminally ill people is okay, not to mention the breaking of every commandment. The internet is awash with pornography, Perth sees violent crime daily. Everyone can bring to mind the chaos that is unprecedented in the world including the earthquakes, extreme climate phenomena, the revival of communism, global civil unrest, not to mention the global financial crisis.
But, above all, the apostasy is from within the Church. Catholics know clearly what it is they are rejecting. Some say that some churchmen are mindfully trying to abolish the Mass. These are the signs of the second coming.
Let’s revisit the Gospel. “Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” God has a beautiful plan. And now is time to take sides, to get with God’s plan and stand on the side of truth; it is time to purify ourselves by obeying the truth (1 Peter 1:22).