27 October 2006

Satan, Goats, Fire, and Jesus

29th Week OT(F): Ephesians 4.1-6 and Luke 12.54-59
Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP
St. Albert the Great Priory and Church of the Incarnation

The EU will implant microchips in its citizens. The computer that controls the chips is called “The Beast.” Osama bin Lama will be killed and then rise again in three days to become the Anti-Christ. Apparitions of the Blessed Mother warn that there is a Great Chastisement coming. Secular powers, controlled by a cabal of modernist Satanists, will systematically persecute the Church. Bishops, priests, entire religious orders and even a future pope serve these Satanists. These are just a few of the dire predictions about our future as Catholics in the world. I won’t even touch on the Protestant disaster scenarios I grew up with. Here’s the problem with these predictions: even if they prove to be true, so what? I mean, what does it matter?

Jesus knows that the hypocrites in the crowd know who he is and why he’s preaching. He knows that they know that he’s fulfilled the prophecies and that he is among them as the Christ. Though they can easily read the signs in the sky and on the earth to predict the weather, they pretend not to be able to read the signs of his coming as the Messiah. Why? Likely b/c a correct interpretation of the signs would require them to consider seriously the necessity of conversion, the necessity of starting over in a New Life in Christ; meaning, they would have to leave the old self behind and start fresh. That’s frightening and arduous. In some bizarre sense a life of sin is comfortable, familiar. The prospect of having such a life revolutionized by acknowledging the arrival of the Messiah must be terrifying!

If you think that I am implying that we shouldn’t waste our time with the fantastic predictions of devilish demise, you’re wrong. I’m not implying it at all. I’m saying it outright. Don’t waste your time. The only prophecy that need concern a Catholic is the prophecy of the arrival of the Messiah. He’s here. Let’s move to making sure that everyone who meets us, hears us, sees us, reads us, or even hears rumors about us knows that we have a single mind, a single heart, one Word, one miracle in faith; that we move and breath and grow and hope to die in one Spirit, preserved in unity through the bond of peace. Let’s be absolutely sure that everything we do and say fulfills with love the prophecy of his coming, his suffering, his death, his resurrection, and his coming again. Does the world see the Body of Christ, the Church, coming in glory to suffer in love, to serve in hope, to persevere in faith no matter what comes? Or do we look like a secret society with something to hide?

When we grind away our short hours here wringing our hands over weird visions and crazy fortunes, we waste the gift of time for witnessing to Love Who saved us and Who will bring us to Him forever. A preoccupation with these visions opens us to all sorts of sins of omission. What are we not doing for God’s people while decoding biblical numerologies and arguing about the authenticity of another Marian visit. What gets left undone? Never does Jesus tell the disciples that they will find themselves among the roasting goats in Hell for failing to properly interpret and apply the message of one of his mother’s apparitions. They will go to Hell, he tells them, for failing to clothe the naked, for failing to visit the imprisoned, for failing to feed the hungry, and for failing to welcome the stranger. In other words, for failing to do the work Christ did, we fail as his students and ambassadors and we reject his grace. Goat, let me introduce you to Fire. Goat, fire. Fire, goat.

We have one Lord, one faith, one baptism and we have one witness: to bear with one another through love so that the world is astonished by our generosity and comes to Christ b/c our joy in his grace is irresistibly contagious! We must prove that being a prisoner for the Lord is the freest anyone can ever be.


  1. well done father - great blog

  2. Anonymous4:21 PM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    That's what I've been telling my hand wringing friends. Nevermind all the gloom and doom...let's get to work!
    God Bless you and may Our Blessed Mother keep you protected.

  3. Nikki and Cat,

    My thanks! God bless...Fr. Philip