Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!
Twenty-fourth and Last Sunday after Pentecost—23 November AD 2014

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English


“God the Father …hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light; [and] hath delivered us from the power of darkness,”[1]

    The Gospel today certainly smacks of “the power of darkness.”  “The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,” the “abomination of desolation,” and so forth.[2]  We will read a similar Gospel again next week.[3]

    As a priest, I am asked, often enough, whether or not we are living in the end times described by our Lord in these two writings.  The answer is that I certainly do not know, and that it is doubtful that anyone will know with certainty prior to the end itself:  “you know not the day nor the hour.”[4]

    Without any doubt, Pope Pius XII seemed to be prophesying the “abomination of desolation” in our time when he wrote

    I am worried by the Blessed Virgin’s messages to Lucy of Fatima.  This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a Divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in Her liturgy, Her theology and Her soul…I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the true Faith of the Church, reject Her ornaments and make Her feel remorse for Her historical past.

    A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted.  She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, “Where have they taken Him?” [5]

    But Pope Pius was not the first to describe an “abomination of desolation.”  In the first book of Machabees we read about “King Antiochus [who] set up the abominable idol of desolation upon the altar of God, [in the Temple at Jerusalem, about two hundred years before Christ] and they built altars throughout all the cities of Juda round about.”[6]  The idol was probably a statue of the false “god” Zeus.

    Even to Christians, the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in AD 70 had to be an “abomination of desolation.”  Even more so, the attempt of the Emperor Hadrian to place an idol of Jupiter Capitolinus in the midst of the Temple ruins.

    The Barbarian invasions from the north, the Islamic invasions from Arabia, and the Huns from Asia must have, once again, seemed to portend the end of times.  The building of the Dome of the Rock on the grounds of the Jerusalem Temple to honor Mohammad’s pretended “ascension into heaven” was “déjà vu all over again,” with its renewed desecration of the Temple grounds.

    It must have been frightening to watch the sand run out of the hour glass on the last hour of the last day of the first millennium—just as it was to see Protestantism disrupt the unity and defensive resources of Christendom against the Moslem resurgence around the Mediterranean in the sixteenth century.

    The fact that the end of the world could have happened at all of these times should remind us that no matter how strange the times in which we live, we still cannot “know the day nor the hour.”  Indeed, that warning is really intended for us as individuals.  At a time that we do not know—but in the relatively near future—our own personal end of the world is sure to come, and we must be prepared for it.

    Quite likely, this is the reason why the Church has us read Saint Paul’s words to the Colossians as today’s epistle.  Saint Paul prayed for his converts to the Faith, as we should pray for ourselves and for those around us—for all of our friends, relatives, and benefactors.

    What could be more important than that we “be filled with the knowledge of the will of God”?  Well only “that [we] may walk worthy of God”—in other words that, knowing God’s will, we live our lives according to God’s will.  And that we live according to God’s will not grudgingly, but “in all patience and long-suffering with joy.”

    What could be better, when our own personal “end of the world” comes, then for God to find us doing precisely what He created us to do?  All men and women were created with human nature, and it is our responsibility to reflect upon the purposes of our creation, and to conform ourselves to those purposes.

    For those who do not know Jesus Christ, those purposes may be difficult to fathom.  But even in their case, the faithful application of human reason to life in this world will allow them to know God’s will. Yet, we should include them in our prayers—that they may be faithful in their efforts.

    Even more, along with Saint Paul, we should pray that “God the Father” will make all of those around us “worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light.”  We should pray that when the end comes, no one will be subject to “the power of darkness,” and that everyone will be taken into “the kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins.”


[1]   Epistle: Colossians i: 9-14

[2]   Gospel: Matthew xxiv: 15-35

[5]   Georges Roche and Philippe Saint Germain, Pie XII devant l’Histoire (1972)  p. 52.


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