for Alfie Evans, 16 Months old ,
another hostage of socialized medicine in Britain.
Ordinary of the Mass
Today's Mass Text - Latin
Today's Mass Text - English
that today is the Last Sunday after Pentecost (Advent begins next Sunday).
In most missals the Mass is designated the 24th Sunday after Pentecost,
This Mass is celebrated on the Last Sunday, no matter how many Sundays are
actually celebrated after Pentecost in a given year.
Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in
I grew up in New York City, a place with a resident
population of about 8,000,000 people. People were not very social—but there
was one man, who seemed to be known by everyone I knew. I always knew him
as “the Shepherd,” but I have heard people refer to him as “the Prophet.”
He sported long uncombed brown hair and a disheveled beard, long before such
things were in style. He wore a brown robe of coarse brown material, but
you wouldn’t mistake him for a Franciscan. He walked through the central
district of the City nearly all the time, carrying a sign that said
“Repent!—the End of the World is Near!” Curiously, most people took him for
I say “curiously” because all the signs of the
times—the 1950s—seemed to confirm what was written on “the Shepherd’s
sign”—the end, indeed seemed near. I was born in 1947, less than two years
after we dropped nuclear fission bombs on two Japanese cities. I was too
young to read the headline when our cold war enemy, the Russians, exploded
the same kind of bomb—and only a few years later (1952, 53), both sides had
produced significantly more powerful hydrogen fusion bombs.
The nations of Christendom had engaged in wars with one
another for centuries—even while all were nominally “Catholic.” But the
introduction of communism in 1917 created a whole new
dynamic. It was necessary for the non-communist states to be conquered or
converted before the apparatus of the communist state could “wither away”
and leave the common people in their “workers’ paradise.” In spite of the
“Fake News” outlets of the twentieth century, Americans had learned that the
“workers’ paradise” was run by blood thirsty totalitarians. Western society
learned that its “withering away” would be accompanied by universal slavery
I was a little less than three years old (October 1949)
when the enormous population of China fell to communist rule.
The Chinese had no nuclear weapons in those days, but they were
ideologically tied to the Russians, who did—and, even a conventional war
with such a large number of people would be suicidal.
Yet, people laughed at “the Shepherd.”
Again, “curiously,” Americans acted as though “the
Shepherd” told absolute truth. We listened for air-raid sirens, tuned our
AM radios to “640, 1240 Conelrad”
while everything else went off the air. In public school we alternated
between shelter drills in the basement, and impromptu “take cover” drills,
during which we were to hide under our little wooden decks whenever the
teacher shouted those ominous words. There were public and private fallout
shelters stocked with provisions for eating, measuring radiation, and
decontaminating the world above. An endless supply of literature taught us
how to deal with the post nuclear world.
Yet, people laughed at “the Shepherd.”
“The Shepherd” seemed to be a religious figure in his
brown “prophetical” robes, and with his apocalyptic message. It may well be
that in the 1950s we recognized the very real possibility of nuclear
annihilation, but had no reason to equate that with the Second Coming of
Jesus Christ. In the 50s we lived in a generally more moral climate. Only
gas stations and restaurants opened on Sundays. Abortion and euthanasia
were illegal in all forty-eight States; contraception was illegal in many of
them. If something was on radio or TV or the major news media or found in
the lyrics of a popular song, it was probably moral and often attractive.
The churches and religious orders had a pretty good record of feeding the
hungry, clothing the naked, nursing the sick, and educating the ignorant.
The Catholic Church experienced record growth in every measurable statistic:
Baptisms, conversions, vocations, ordinations, and physical plant. The
Church even had a bishop on TV who won an Emmy award for his weekly program
in 1953 and was nominated twice thereafter!
Americans wore the hatred of Russia, China and their
satellites as a badge of honor—for they stood for atheism, murder, hunger
and starvation, plunder, and the denial of every freedom—we were proud to
stand united against them.
Today the picture is quite different. Violent
vulgarity streams from speakers and screens. The charitable efforts of
religion have largely been redirected to finance immoral medical procedures
and to underwrite the efforts of “community organizers.” Children are
considered a disease to be prevented or eliminated. Marxism and perversion
have penetrated the Church and civil society—which society is now deeply
divided. And, by every measurable statistic, the Church
is shrinking at an alarming rate. Perhaps we are witnessing “the
abomination of desolation”?
Perhaps “the Shepherd”—the New York fellow in the brown
robes—was just before his proper time.
Indeed, just Monday or Tuesday, I received an e-mail
asking me to pray for the Second coming of Jesus Christ—that He might judge
the world and punish the wicked. At first I thought that the sender was
just like “the Shepherd”—another voice to be ignored. The idea of praying
for the end of the world seemed too extreme.
Yet, we always say we want to be in Heaven with Jesus
Christ and His Blessed Mother. We would share the beatific vision of God
the Father. We would be united to all that is good and protected from all
that is evil. We would join the angels in the celebration of the heavenly
liturgy. All the problems and pains of earthly life would be gone.
Yet, the Gospel we heard today (and the one we will
hear next Sunday) sound foreboding. Perhaps we ought not bring them upon
ourselves through our prayers. I think the proper response is found in the
epistle we read this morning:
We cease not to pray for you, and to beg that you may be filled with the
knowledge of the will of God, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding:
that you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing, being fruitful in
every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God: strengthened with
all might according to the power of his glory, in all patience and
long-suffering with joy, giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us
worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light; who hath delivered
us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of
the Son of his love.”
Without re-reading it, we can recall that Saint Paul
gave us the example of praying for each other, that we each acquire a
knowledge of God’s will “in all wisdom and spiritual understanding,”—that
even here on Earth we may become worthy to share the light of the saints,
and become part of the kingdom of the Son of God’s love.
So, let us pray for our own goodness and for doing the
will of God right here on Earth. “Heaven and earth shall pass [away], but
my words shall not pass. But of that day and hour no one knoweth, not the
angels of heaven, but the Father alone.”
All things will come in God’s good time.
We must strive to know God’s will—and we must pray that
our wills be conformed to His. Let us not forget that “Thy kingdom come” is
always qualified by “Thy will be done”!