Day 96: The Church’s Ultimate Trial (675-682)
It’s Day 96!!
This is the last section in Chapter 2: The Son
Tomorrow we start Chapter Three: I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
We’ve talked about CREATION
We’ve talked about REVELATION
We’ve talked about FAITH
We’ve talked about THE FATHER
We’ve talked about THE QUALITIES OF THE FATHER aka What He has revealed about Himself
We’ve talked about JESUS CHRIST and how He has been revealed and who He is in Himself
Tomorrow we start a LONG section
A GREAT section
A BEAUTIFUL section
ON THE HOLY SPIRIT
Yesterday we talked about FROM THERE HE WILL COME AGAIN TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD
HE WILL COME AGAIN IN GLORY
Christ’s Kingdom is established ON EARTH in the Church
The Church TRULY IS HOLY
AT THE SAME TIME…
That holiness is REAL BUT IMPERFECT
So we still await the FINAL COMING OF JESUS
We still await that FINAL FULFILLMENT
So even though Jesus has DEFINITIVELY DEFEATED THE POWER OF EVIL we find ourselves in a TIME OF BATTLE
We continue to pray and ask the Lord Jesus to come
He continues to send out His Holy Spirit
This is a time of DISTRESS
This is a time of WATCHING AND WAITING
This is a time of VIGILANCE
Today is THE CHURCH’S ULTIMATE TRIAL
THE STAKES ARE HUGE!!
THE STAKES ARE ETERNITY!!
THE STAKES ARE LIFE AND DEATH!!
Paragraph 675 says, “Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.”
There will be a PERSECUTION
There will be RELIGIOUS DECEPTION
There will be THE ANTICHRIST
There will be a PSEUDO MESSIANISM
This means that there is an idea that we take the Lord Himself and put Him off to the side because some other “solution” has presented itself
That is one of the realities the Church has discerned over its 2,000 year history
So what is the ANTICHRIST?
Paragraph 676 says, “The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world everytime the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatalogical judgment.”
Basically, there are all these OPTIONS
There are all these people making OFFERS
“If only we do this, it will usher in a new time of peace and prosperity. It will usher in a new time of salvation.”
As Christians we recognize there is progress to be made in this world
There is ALWAYS good that can be done in this world
WILL EVER USHER IN THIS MESSIANIC AGE!!
It is not going to happen WITHIN HISTORY
It is only going to happen AT THE CLOSE OF HISTORY
AT THE CLOSE OF THE AGE!!
So the big temptation has been, is, and will be this temptation to REPLACE GOD WITH ANYTHING ELSE
Paragraphs 678 and 679 are about Jesus Christ coming TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD
There is a JUDGMENT TO COME for every one of us
There is a JUDGMENT TO COME at the end of time
There is a JUDGMENT TO COME at the end of each of our lives
We will talk about that later on in The Catechism
Today we are reminded of that
Today is given us by the Lord so that we can REPENT
God is PATIENT with us so that we can change our hearts and say YES to His grace
So let’s pray that while it is still TODAY God gives us the grace to say YES to Him to say NO to our sin and to live this new life
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, we trust in you and we thank you. We praise your name. We give you glory. We ask that you please reveal to our hearts your heart. Reveal the depth of your love for us to us. Help us to say yes to you. Help us to avoid the temptation toward idolatry. Help us to avoid the temptation towards the Antichrist. Help us to avoid the temptation to turn away from what you have given to us in favor of something new, in favor of something flashy, in favor of something that is not from you. Lord God, help us to strive with all of our hearts and our whole lives to help the people around us. But to never replace your Kingdom with a pseudo- false kingdom. Help us to never replace you and your victory on the Cross with any other kind of victory. Help us to live as you have called us to live. Help us to love as you have called us to love. Help us to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in this world by the power of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen”
We are ending Chapter 2: The Son with a BANG
THE CHURCH’S ULTIMATE TRIAL
Paragraph 675 says, “Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.”
THIS IS DRAMATIC!!
THIS IS INSANE!!
THIS IS BANANAS!!
Remember the People of Israel?
What was their primary sin again and again?
We read and heard those stories and it was like, “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS AGAIN AND AGAIN?”
Their temptation was even though the Lord God had REVEALED HIMSELF to them
Even though the Lord God had CHOSEN them
Even though the Lord God had COVENANTED HIMSELF to them
What did they continue to do TIME AND TIME AGAIN?
THEY TURNED AWAY FROM GOD!!
THEY TRIED TO REPLACE GOD WITH SOMETHING ELSE!!
Remember those stories about the Assyrians and Babylonians?
What did Israel want to do again and again?
What did the Kingdom of Judah want to do again and again?
They wanted to ALLY ITSELF with Egypt
They wanted to ALLY ITSELF with someone else
They wanted to TURN TO ANOTHER SOLUTION other than being faithful to the Lord God
Apostasy is REJECTION OF THE TRUTH
It is TURNING AWAY
It is a DRAMATIC TURNING AWAY
It is NOT just an error
I REJECT WHAT I KNOW TO BE TRUE!!
THE FORM OF A RELIGIOUS DECEPTION OFFERING MEN AN APPARENT SOLUTION TO THEIR PROBLEMS AT THE PRICE OF APOSTASY FROM THE TRUTH
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!
WE NEED TO HAVE OUR EYES OPEN!!
Scripture says that there are many people who come forward OFFERING SOLUTIONS
Paragraph 675 continues, “The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.”
ANY TEMPTATION WE HAVE to glorify OURSELVES in place of God
IT COULD BE ANYTHING!!
We could glorify EDUCATION in the place of God
We could glorify POLITICS in the place of God
We could glorify GOOD DEEDS in the place of God
We could glorify TECHNOLOGY in the place of God
We could glorify A PERSON in the place of God
We all have these temptations
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US!!
We say that a policy is going to be our SOLUTION
We say that this political party is going to be our SOLUTION
We say this person we elect is going to be our SOLUTION
Everytime we have that…
Or even you know again…
Science is going to be our SOLUTION
All these things can obviously be good
Every time we REPLACE God with any one of those things, it is TURNING AWAY FROM THE LORD
IT IS IDOLATRY!!
IT IS TURNING TOWARD THE ANTICHRIST!!
Every one of these paragraphs is a PUNCH TO THE FACE
Paragraph 676 says, “The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatalogical judgment.”
This promise for peace on earth IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN UNTIL CHRIST RETURNS
Yes we FIGHT for peace
Yes we LONG for peace
Yes we WORK for peace
We work for JUSTICE
NOT AT THE PRICE OF TRUTH!!
NOT AT THE PRICE OF THE DIGNITY OF INDIVIDUALS!!
Paragraph 676 continues, “The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the ‘intrinsically perverse’ political form of a secular messianism.”
Whenever we decide to trust in a KINGDOM
Whenever we decide to trust in a NATION
Whenever we decide to trust in a GOVERNMENT
Whenever we decide to trust in POLITICS
Those things obviously have their place
What a great gift it is when those things are working well
That is amazing
There have been some pretty incredible civilizations
AT THE SAME TIME…
To replace God with ANY OF THOSE THINGS is a SEVERE AND INCREDIBLE ERROR
The Church is US
Ok so I’m not going to give my heart over to politics
I’m not going to give my heart over to government
I’m not going to give my heart over to education
I’m not going to give my heart over to a policy
I’m going to give my heart over to The Church
Ok here’s what you need to prepare for…
Paragraph 677 says, “The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil…”
What does this mean?
Pope Benedict XVI said that the Church is going to have to grow SMALLER
Rather than the Church becoming this massive force on the earth
Christendom, where all of the western world is basically Catholic Christian
The Church says, “Nope! That is not what we are talking about, where the Church takes over the world. That is not going to happen. Only when we follow our Lord in his Death and Resurrection.”
The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil…
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT FOR US!!
If we expect the Church to be more and more powerful…
If we expect the Catholic Church to be greater and greater and have so much influence on the world…
We may be expecting the EXACT WRONG THING
We may be expecting SOMETHING ELSE
What we HAVE to be expecting is to follow our Lord in his death
In being MISUNDERSTOOD…
In being REJECTED…
In being HATED…
In being KILLED…
That is the ONLY WAY the Kingdom will be fulfilled
Paragraph 677 continues, “...by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.”
Now by you and I having POWER
Not by you and I winning and being loved by everybody
THAT WON’T HAPPEN!!
SO DON’T EXPECT THAT TO HAPPEN!!
Does that make sense? (🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔 Uh…..)
It’s a HARD WORD
It’s a word the Church is telling us
This is the 4,000 years of wisdom that has been PAINFULLY EARNED
From Abraham until now
So now we recognize there is THE LAST DAY
Paragraph 678 says, “Then [On the Last Day] will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light. Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God’s grace as nothing be condemned.”
It’s the unbelief we are responsible for
Not the belief that we are culpable for
But the unbelief that we are culpable for
That is our responsibility
How many times have we been offered God’s gifts
Offered His LOVE…
Offered His GRACE…
And we counted it as nothing?
THEN THAT WILL BE CONDEMNED!!
Paragraph 678 continues, “Our attitude about our neighbor will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love.”
Remember in Matthew Ch 25 Jesus has the sheep and the goats
He separates all of humanity like sheep and goats
Jesus says to one group, “Truly I say to you as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”
Jesus will say to the other group, “Truly I say to you as often as you did NOT do it to one of the least of my brethren, you did NOT do it to me.”
Our attitude about our neighbor will disclose ACCEPTANCE or REFUSAL of grace and divine love
ALL THIS IS WORTH PRAYING ABOUT!!
IT IS THE FINAL EXAM THAT THE LORD WILL PRESENT BEFORE ALL OF US AFTER OUR LAST BREATH!!
Paragraph 679 says, “Christ is the Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgment on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as redeemer of the world. He ‘acquired’ this right by his cross…Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself.”
Jesus did not come to judge
JESUS CAME TO SAVE US!!
Paragraph 679 continues, “By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one’s works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love.”
THIS IS POSSIBLE!!
Because it’s possible, let's take a moment…
By REJECTING grace in this life…
Ok I have the opportunity to go to Confession…
Nah, I’ll go some other time
Then I am already CONDEMNING MYSELF
I can even CONDEMN MYSELF by rejecting the Spirit of love
GOD LOVES YOU SO MUCH!!
We can be INDIFFERENT to that love
We can IGNORE that love
BY REJECTING GRACE IN THIS LIFE I JUDGE MYSELF!!
I RECEIVE ACCORDING TO MY OWN WORKS!!
I CAN EVEN CONDEMN MYSELF FOR ALL ETERNITY!!
Not because I wasn’t good enough
Not because I could do amazing things
BECAUSE I REJECTED THE SPIRIT OF LOVE!!
That all can change with ONE DECISION
It all can change with THIS MOMENT
We can make the decision RIGHT NOW
“Lord, I resolve that the very next opportunity that I have to go to Confession, the very next opportunity that I have to change my life, the very next opportunity that I have to say YES to you, I SAY YES TO YOU NOW! RIGHT NOW!”
JUST SAY YES TO GRACE!!
IN THIS LIFE WE CAN SAY A YES THAT ENDURES FOR ALL ETERNITY!!
In this life we can say a NO that endures for all eternity
Please pray for each other
Right now, in this moment, please pray for EVERY PERSON LISTENING TO THIS PODCAST
Pray that EVERY ONE OF US in this moment says YES to God’s grace
We don’t tune into this podcast because we are perfect
We tune in because we want to KNOW
We tune in because we want to LEARN
We tune in because we want to LOVE
WE DON’T DO IT PERFECTLY!!
So please pray RIGHT NOW for every person in this moment listening to this podcast that we all say YES
Fr. Mike is praying for YOU that you say YES!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike that he says yes NOW and at the hour of his death!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!