05 June 2018

Awaiting a new heavens. . .

St. Boniface
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
9th Provincial Chapter, Navasota, TX

Brothers, who or what are we waiting on? Who or what are you waiting on? One way of answering this question goes something like this: “I'm waiting on Popeye's to reintroduce its all-you-can-eat Spicy Fried Chicken Buffet.” This sort of answer is all about what I'm wanting and waiting on for the Here and Now. You might say instead, “I'm waiting on funding for my ministry project, or a medical breakthrough for my mom, or for my stingy prior to give me permission to replace my 2011 laptop.” We want and wait on things for the Here and Now. Nothing wrong with that. But if Peter is right, we also want and wait on more than just what we think we need Right Now. He writes, “. . .we await new heavens and a new earth. . .” We await something and Someone greater than ourselves, a time, a place. . .a person “where righteousness dwells.” How does this sort of wanting and waiting move us day-to-day? How does this sort of wanting and waiting move us during this chapter? Are we thinking and deciding in four year increments? Or, are we “waiting [on] and hasten[ing] the coming of the day of God”?

Now, given what Peter says about the Day of God we might not be all that eager to hasten its arrival – “the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire.” That might interfere with any plans Popeye's has on expanding their menu! Even more so, it sets our own plans for the Province within an “End Times” context. This does not mean that everything we do and say here is useless. Quite the opposite! It means that everything we do and say here takes on the flavor of that most Christian spice – the eschaton, our final goal as men vowed to preach and teach the Good News of Jesus Christ. When Peter says that we as Christians “await new heavens and a new earth” he means that while we live and move and have our being right here and right now, we also look toward a horizon sharply drawn by the Father's promise of eternal life. Christ has fulfilled that promise for us. Now it's our turn – daily, hourly, in everything we say and do in this chapter – it's our turn to live out that promise. Yes, we see with our own eyes and hear with our own ears. . .BUT we discern and come to understand with the mind of Christ. Therefore, Peter encourages us “to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.”

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