Last Sunday after Pentecost
On this last Sunday of the liturgical year, Holy Mother Church puts before eyes the spectacle of the end of the world and the final judgment. The two major elements of this teaching are first, that the world as we know it will end, and second that Christ Our Lord will come to judge all of humanity.
The universe was created by God. Its only goal is to lead souls to eternal salvation which in turn gives greater glory to the Creator. That’s all. It serves no other purpose. The universe has no other raison d’être. It does not suffice unto itself. It is good, very good, but only inasmuch as it is understood as being part of a much larger plan. Modern discoveries have allowed us to come to a better knowledge of the dimensions of the universe. Its magnitude leave us in awe. And yet, it is all nothing compared to what God has in store for His loved ones. The whole of creation is totally insignificant compared to the destiny of one soul, which is called to see God face to face for all eternity. As St John saw in the Apocalypse: the heavens and the earth were swept away; they were gone. All that remained was, on one side, God and the souls that comprise the eternal Jerusalem, and on the other, the pool of fire and brimstone in which will burn forever those who refuse God’s plan. Revelation tells us then that the universe was created by God and that God will bring it to an end; He will “pull the curtain” at the moment He has determined. In other words, it is not just a matter of the solar system wearing itself out eventually, or a comet colliding with the earth and making it inhabitable. No, God has told us that He will step in to put an end to human history, when the number of the elect is complete. Just as He initiated the beginning by creation, so He decides the moment of its end when we least expect it.
This has consequences on how we live our lives and on how we view the planet. In an age imbued with itself and its own discoveries, it is all the more important to be reminded that the care for our planet only has meaning if it is taken within the context of and in respect for God’s commandments. The universe, the world, planet earth, is not auto-referential. One of the most important consequences of this in our day is that any effort to provide for the future of the planet that would set aside any of God’s commandments, is doomed not only to failure but to cause even greater catastrophes. For example, any effort to reduce the world’s population by any means is gravely contrary to God’s law. Why? Because it can only entail either killing existing human lives, which is contrary to the Fifth Commandment, or preventing the birth of other human lives which is contrary to the very first command that came from the Creator, namely “Increase and multiply”, commandment which, to my knowledge, has not been revoked. It wasn’t until an atheistically dominated philosophy began to call for reducing the number of births that people began falling for the myth, today prevalent, of over-population, myth supplemented more recently by that other myth called global warming, for which it is man who is the problem. And while we make laws to protect animals, we promote the murder of humans. In the same way, it is gravely contrary to God’s plan when human beings are used as objects for the service of other human beings, in particular through that most abominable modern form of slavery called research on human embryos.
Our Blessed Lord tells us of the devil: He was a murderer from the beginning: and he stood not in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof. (Jn 8:44) A liar and a murderer: so is Satan. The attempt to convince us that humans are the problem on the planet, or the justification of research to cure humans by stealing cells from a murdered baby, or not being offensive by calling evil what is clearly evil, preferring to be “nice”, what is all this if it is not the Great Lie? The Great Lie and blasphemy that we know better than the Creator? All the more insidious when it is presented in the name of conscience as a religious duty to care for the planet’s future or to provide for a common good from which we have taken great care to exclude some unfortunate humans because we decided their fate was to serve our needs? What is this if it is not the abomination of the desolation?
What are we then to do? Our Lord tells us today: When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand. Then they that are in Judea, flee to the mountains: he that is on the housetop, let him not come down to take any thing out of his house: And he that is in the field, let him not go back to take his coat (Mt 24:15-18) St Jerome comments: “Then will be the time when it will be our duty to flee from Judea into the mountains, that is to say, to leave the letter which passeth away, … and to hide in the everlasting hills, from whence God doth right wondrously cause His light to shine forth. Then it will be out duty to find ourselves under a roof and in a house where the fiery darts of the wicked one can never pierce and smite us, and not to come down to take anything out of the house of our old life, or to have regard unto those things which are behind but rather to sow in the field of the spiritual Scriptures”. In other words, in these days in which the abomination of the desolation seems to be set up in the very house of God, we must more than ever take refuge in frequent prayer, reading and meditating the Holy Scriptures, avoiding even the appearance of sin which would take us back to our old ways and compromise us with the very abomination we are fleeing. In the days of the great trial, there can be no compromise. We must flee to the mountain which is Christ and take refuge under the mantle of Mary Immaculate.
In the midst of the sadness that perhaps weighs upon us as we read Our Lord’s words today, especially as we sense that we may very well be living them out, there are several encouragements in today’s Gospel that we need to turn our minds to. First of all the Lord says: See that ye be not troubled. For these things must come to pass (Mt 24:6). In a similar way, at the Last Supper, twice in the same chapter 14 of St John, the Saviour says: Let not your heart be troubled. It is an act of love and of the greatest esteem and confidence in the Lord when we are able to obey that command: Be not troubled. It reminds us of St Teresa’s famous words: “Let nothing disturb thee, let nothing affright thee, all things are passing, God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God. God alone suffices.” Yes, the cosmos is being rolled up like a canvas, soon it will all be over. All that will matter is that when we stand before the judgement seat of Jesus Christ, we be able to say in all truth that we sought in all things to heed His sacred words, that we followed the dictates of our conscience, regardless of any pressure of any kind from anyone, for we loved Him more than our own lives, more than our commodities and even our reputation.
Finally, for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened (Mt 24:22). Yes, the Lord, in His infinite mercy, shortens the days of the trial. God has set a limit to the sea, allowing it to go only so far. So He sets a limit to the time of evil, to the time of injustice. The wicked prosper only for a time, and then they dry up like grass and are thrown into the fiery furnace. Then like the bird from its cage the just are set free. In those days we shall sing with overflowing joy: Our soul hath been delivered as a sparrow out of the snare of the fowlers. The snare is broken, and we are delivered (Ps 123:7).