Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Last Sunday after Pentecost—26 November A.D. 2017
Ave Maria!

Please pray 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


Please note 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.


“Hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven….”[1]

    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 a joke.

    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.[2]

    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 (at best!).

    I was a little less than three years old (October 1949) when the enormous population of China fell to communist rule.[3]  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![4]

    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:

    Brethren, 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.”[5]

    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.”[6]  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”!




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