Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Last Sunday after Pentecost

21 November A.D. 2010

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

    Today we have reached the end of the Church's year—the last Sunday after Pentecost.  And no matter how many Sundays there are after Pentecost—it can be between 23 and 28—this particular Mass formulary is always used at the very end.  Of course, that is only appropriate, for it speaks to us about the end of time; the end of the world.

    For most of us the idea of the end of the world is a pretty frightening notion.  I know that it upset me pretty badly when I first became old enough to pay attention and to understand what the priest was saying as he read this Gospel.  But the Church isn't trying to frighten us each year as we read it—but It does want to prepare us for two eventualities—the end of the world in general—but more specifically, and really more important, our own personal end.

    If we read this passage, and the other passages of Sacred Scripture which deal with the end of things, it appears that there will be a period of severe tribulation, followed by a period of peace during which the world is ruled by Christ the King, and in the end the universe as we know it will return to the nothingness out of which it was created -- to be replaced by the kingdom of heaven.

    This particular passage deals with the first part, the tribulation.  And we see that it will be difficult indeed.  Our Lord speaks of “tribulation such as has not been seen from the beginning of the world....”  There will be “wars and rumors of war.”  There will be famine, and plague, and natural disaster—“the sun will be darkened and the moon will give no light.”

    Our Lord speaks of what the Old Testament prophet Daniel calls the “abomination of desolation.”  This probably refers to a time so chaotic and filled with persecution and apostasy that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will cease to be offered.  Think of that desolation—entire cities, even countries without the Real Presence of the Blessed Sacrament—of no priest to hear Confessions, anoint the sick, or bury the dead—at a time when these things will seem more necessary than ever before.

    Our Lord speaks of “false Christs and false prophets, who will show great signs and wonders, and try to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”  Elsewhere we read that their will be an “Antichrist,” a being so possessed by the devil that he will seem to be as evil as the True Christ is holy—and having great powers of deception.

    But we see also, that even in the midst of all these difficulties, our Lord will be looking out for His elect—for those who are faithful to Him and keep His Commandments.  “For the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”  and “His angels will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”

    Of course, we don't know just when this will all come to pass.    We live in a time of world political instability; a time of decreasing moral value, increasing sacrilegious behavior, and a positive disregard for the rights of God.  The abomination of desolation seems to be coming upon us, as in more and more churches what passes for the Mass becomes less and less reverent—and becomes more and more distorted, perhaps already to the point of not being Mass at all.  Someone quipped the other night that “the Antichrist had been elected President.”  We seem to have a lot of earthquakes and hurricanes lately.

    But even with all of these things and more, we still don't know.  Certainly the early Christians expected the End in their own time, as our Lord said, “this generation will not pass away until all of these things have been accomplished.”  And can you imagine the fear which engulfed Christendom on New Year's Eve, December 31st, in the year of our Lord 1000, as the clock struck 12 and ushered in the new millennium?  Indeed, the only thing we know for sure is that we don't know.  Our Lord tells us that we “know neither the day nor the hour.”  In spite of all the symptoms, the End may not come this year, nor for centuries to come—or it may come today, even as we speak.

    But this uncertainty really shouldn't bother us.  As I have told many of you, and told you many times, the precise date of the End of the world should have absolutely no bearing on our behavior.  Our own personal end may very well come long before the general End.  And the things that we must do to prepare for the one are identical with what we must do to prepare for the other.  We would be wrong to quit our jobs and hide in the cellar until the End comes to pass.

    In either event, we need to keep the Commandments.  And to keep them because we love God—not just because we fear Him.

    In either event, we want to have developed a personal relationship with God, long before our time comes, so prayer, and fasting, and spiritual reading are all necessary.

    In either event, we need to make maximum use of the Mass and Sacraments whenever and as long as they are available to us.

    And we ought to make use of the sacramentals too—the crucifix, holy water, blessed candles, the scapular, and certainly the Rosary.  Those things may be our only consolation if we are around at the End.  But they are also essential to forming a Catholic spiritual life under normal circumstances of peace and prosperity.  There shouldn't be a Catholic home without a crucifix—better yet one in each room.  And we really can't claim to be Catholics without some form of devotion to our Blessed Mother.  And sometimes our spiritual darkness can seem to require those candles every much as though the sun had stopped shining and the moon no longer gave its light.

    So, this is the end of the Church's year.  The Mass reminds us to prepare for our own end—every bit as much as for The End.  We have to get our lives in order in precisely the same ways.

    In closing, let me remind and encourage you.  Our Lord is looking out for His elect.  As He says in the Opening Psalm of this Mass:  “I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction.  You shall call upon Me, and I will hear you, and bring you back from your captivity.”


Dei via est íntegra
Our Lady of the Rosary, 144 North Federal Highway (US#1), Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441  954+428-2428
Authentic  Catholic Mass, Doctrine, and Moral Teaching -- Don't do without them -- 
Don't accept one without the others!