27 November 2020

Reading the signs

34th Week OT (F)

Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP

St. Dominic Priory, NOLA

“Reading the signs of the times” has been a favorite pastime of the professional Catholic since Gaudium et spes was published in 1965. The Church “labors to decipher authentic signs of God's presence and purpose in the happenings [of human history]”(11). Deciphering these signs has often looked more like an exercise in Hegelian dialectics than a prayerful discernment of Christ's presence in the world. Regardless, we are called upon to see and hear the coming of the Kingdom in the people, places, and things of the world. Easier said than done. One sure way to find our way is to read unfolding events in terms of the conflict btw the Gospel and the world. Not btw Christians and non-Christians or Christians and Christian heretics. But btw the spirit of Christ and the spirits of the world. Btw the necessities of sacrificial love and the false promises of humanism w/o God. This conflict is brutally played out in the via crucis of Christ in Jerusalem. It is being played out now in China btw Christ's Body and the communist state. In a much smaller way – here at home – some state gov't's use “health and safety regulations” to gently isolate Christ's Body and silence our public prayer. This conflict btw Christ and the world isn't new, of course. Jesus warns us that he came to bring a sword, a sword that will divide family, friends, and even nations. Our task as saints-in-the-making is to read the signs and work diligently to remain firmly in the Sacrificial Love Camp. Even if we are never called upon to literally give our lives for the faith as red martyrs, we have already given our lives for the faith as friar-preachers. So long as the Word remains, our preaching cannot/must not pass away.


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