Pope Francis is coming to Washington in 2 days! He comes as a pope of hope, as an encourager that we practice the Gospel and have the love of God as our mission. He will tell us that we believing Catholics are living right now in the kingdom of God, even while on earth, and that we have responsibility to live faithful to Him and this calling. We look to be engaged with the world, even as Christ Jesus, the Incarnation of God, seeks engagement with the world.
There are some Christians in the world, and some leading non-Catholic Christian leaders, that don’t emphasize the deeper living of the Gospel and the kingdom of God among us and its responsibilities. They rather speak of an escapism Christianity, of just longer to get off the planet soon, that the Lord might hasten the Second Coming. They live and speak in stark contrast to the pope and the Catholic Church. While we await the Second Coming, we actively live our faith abounding in good works, that the Lord might increase and deepen His reign in us, and we work for justice, cultivating peace by actions, not by evasions.
the final days, and the Apocalypse writer John also wrote of such signs in the sky, of the darkened, blood red moon.
These non-Catholic pastors and writers and movie makers say it is a portent of the end of the world. Amazing. And what is their authority for this declaration? Just that God told them so. And we are asked to believe it.
Other religious voices (again outside the Church) have said recently that our concerns should be more about a mystery asteroid coming straight for us on planet earth. They say it is ‘invisible’ to man but ‘visible’ to people of prophetic spiritual gifts. What?! Should we duck and cover? NASA has heard enough outcry about it that they went and did extensive searching for any such object, and say that scientifically, it does not exist. But some Christians, such that of the Adventists camp, who are always looking for signs for The End, say that it is true, but hidden and understood only by them, and that they will be delivered, while other suffer in doom. Ok. These are real reports friends. The Catholic Church does not believe them. In fact, the pope is traveling to ask for an increase of faith in America and for love to be shared better, since we are Christ’ body of believers on earth, meant to spread His kingdom. There is not an escape plan here from a coming doom, but an engagement with the Living Christ and His work on earth. Quite different in emphasis, huh?
In these September days, don’t look for disaster to come from the skies, but rather, get ready for the Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis, and hear what God is saying through him about living on this planet and putting our Christianity into better and deeper practice. We are to listen and put God’s help to us into practice. Not pack our bags for an apocalypse. The Holy Father wants us to live in faith here on earth and be salt for the earth, light for the world. Not to be an emergency bus for escape this month.
I find it fascinating about these radical theories of some end-times Christians. You really got to ask: Why be hooked on all the doom and gloom and escape? Isn’t out Christian faith about engagement with the world?
So what is happening in the heavens? It will be visible on September 28 that a fourth lunar eclipse in just two years (a tetrad) will occur, and it should be pretty nice to look at. The blood moon will be of a supermoon (a moon closer to the earth than usual) and what is called the Raleigh Effect will put a touch of red in the moon view. The eclipse will be seen safely with the naked eye, since it’s the moon, not the sun, we will see eclipsed for a while.
How the eclipse will take place
End times people look for ultra-dramatic signs. But we Catholics believe in God’s Signs among us, such as His saving participation with us at Mass here. The Sacraments are saving signs of God with us. We also believe that God speaks to the world, through His Vicar, but importantly, too, through Sacred Scripture. So what is it that God is giving in signs to us in His Word? Note and listen to The Scriptures of this 26th Sunday of the Year, and how by it God asks us to live on earth, and to live responsibly on it. It’s in our epistle today in James 3: “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.” Do we only cultivate peace in heaven? Now, we are to do so on earth, and that we are called to be fruitful in God’s Spirit, thus letting God’s peace be sown from our lives, and letting peace and its justice of God be cultivated on earth. There is work implied here to be done–for the Christian to be a peacemaker, a peace bringer. Not a planet escaper and de-parter! Right?!
The Scripture in James tells us further about actions meant to accompany our faith. We are to rely on the wisdom of God to help us bear fruit in purity, peacefulness, harmony, respect and service to one another. Wisdom is the Holy Spirit. So we need the Spirit to inspire us, and then our works are given to glorify Christ Jesus. St. James has said: Faith without works is dead. So, we hear Pope Francis urge us to actions and works of God, should we listen and obey God for what He wants today of us.
Pope Francis comes to America and he will proclaim that Christians are meant to futher bring the kingdom of God to the earth, and not to be looking to escape the world. He won’t be crying end times, but rather new times, for people to work together in the Lord, as to be in HIS justice and HIS peace. It is Lord’s own Vicar, Pope Francis (speaking in the chair of apostle Peter and the authority vested in that office by Jesus Christ, founder of the Church), that calls us to people to believe and live the Gospel. Francis comes this September, not to usher in doom, but hope! He comes with the Light of the Gospel, not darkness. He comes with Christ Jesus’ message, not with mystery asteroids coming to smash us on the earth. We should be giving attention to what God brings through him, not with destruction comes upon us from the night sky.
Will you give this your attention? You have read the pope’s writings already, The Joy of the Gospel or his encyclical Laudato Si—right? You need to know his words, and not just interpretations or slants from secular media about his coming. Laudato Si–the pope’s last encyclical is not just about the environment, as some limit it too, but rather . it’s Francis call to our responsible living in this world as people who praise God for it and live as stewards of God’s provisions and resources on it. It is exactly what Saint Francis asked for in his time, and this Pope Francis is renewing its cry.
We Catholics don’t pray, “End the earth, Lord.” We pray, “Lord, help us to live well on this earth, Lord, to your good will, until You choose to call us Home. Come, Lord Jesus to us here, now. Come in Glory, too, Lord Jesus. He us to cultivate peace, and to work for justice, as your epistle of James says today. Help us, Lord, to have courage, as You did, O Jesus, in living out the Psalms, even while being greatly tested, when You prayed: THE LORD UPHOLDS MY LIFE. Help us to live the Wisdom reading today too–that though the innocent man, the just person, the one pursuing union with God–is fought against by this world, this is strength for remaining steadfast in our faith.” Amen.
“The last (or latter) days are all the days of the New Covenant. How are we to live in them? Jude 20 tells us. “In the last days…you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”