The Power and the Glory
By Fr. Robert J. Carr
©Catholic Online 2005
As I looked over Last Sunday's readings, these words struck me...
"Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you."
Of Course, these words from the 17th chapter of John are from Jesus' prayer to the Father just prior to his arrest. Yet, when we look at them in light of all the readings it is time to reflect. This is a special Sunday in the year one of the most important. It is that Sunday between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost. It is in a sense a time of mystery, waiting for God to show his glory. We are in great expectation, yet, we are also waiting.
Historically this time, which recognizes those same days of prayer after Jesus' resurrection, are the end of a time of silence maintained by Jesus and his apostles. Paul states, in the oldest eyewitness account we have of the resurrection of Jesus, that Our Lord appeared to no more than five hundred people. He never returned to the town square and really never preached again in public. His resurrection was something enjoyed only by his closest disciples.
WAITING IN GREAT EXPECTATION
After Jesus resurrected from the dead, it is the apostles led by the Holy Spirit, a person in God they had never experienced previously, who continued Our Savior's ministry. So, now is the time we remember this as we celebrate their message handed down to us over the centuries and alive in our lives. This is a time of joyful expectation as we await the arrival of Pentecost Sunday. It is a time for all of us to be in prayer asking for a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit next week.
Yet, we have gone through a painful time for these last several years. Some have described this time as the post Christian era and have announced that we have evolved to the point that humans no longer need to believe in God. It is a ridiculous statement, made more ridiculous by the fact that no person who understands evolution could say it. Yet, here you and I are in this time in joyful expectation saying Lord let your spirit come upon us and upon all your people next week.
GOD'S HAND PRUNING HIS CHURCH
If you read media accounts it would appear that the Catholic Church is falling apart. Yet, when you step back a moment you can see that it is stronger than ever. However, you must step back to see this. This is Christ's Church and as Christ said, the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. So what is happening? It is just as Jesus said would happen. His light is growing within the Church and those places in our church and in our world that have thrived in darkness are coming to light and being dealt with, not by our hands, but by God's hands. You are watching God prune his church and he is doing it well.
There is an interesting phrase that has been part of media accounts lately, it is Romans 1:18
The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from Heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness. For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes. Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. . . . (And they pay $42,000 a year to walk down this path!!!!) Sound Familiar?
Since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper. They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery and spite. They are gossips and scandalmongers and they hate God. They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness and rebellious toward their parents. They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Many take that as God's condemnation of homosexuality. It actually is more than that. It is a description of the judgement of God, not for any particular sin, but for choosing to reject the sovereignty of God in our lives. They reject his wisdom and light and, therefore, God leaves them to suffer the effects of their own darkness until that darkness consumes them. Isn't this what is going on around us in our society? Are we not witnessing that passage exactly? Therefore, those who say our Church is failing are actually blind to what is truly happening, the power of God coming down upon those who reject him. These enemies of God are in their last gasp of trying to reject God and in doing so are doing exactly what St. Paul says happens when people walk down those paths. This reality does not denigrate God, it glorifies God for it proves that these principles taught to us are true.
Those of us who have persevered in Christ are now watching his judgement fall upon those who turned away from him.
THEY SEE JUDGEMENT, WE SEE GLORY
Yet, his judgement means nothing outside of his glory. It was this glory that the apostles preached under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It is this glory that we pray to experience and it is this glory that is around us.
A few people know that during the first year of the Crisis in the Church a mini investigation team was formed, yet this one to look into who was pushing an anti-catholic agenda and why. One of the most powerful experiences all of us on that team found was that on every Mary day we made major discoveries of the truth behind the scenes. Literally, we would wake up on any of Mary's feast days and know that by the end of the day, we would make a major discovery into those anti-Catholic agendas driving the attacks on the Church.
Now it is time for us to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that the darkness that has been trying to extinguish the light of Christ may be totally dispelled and that the light of Christ may shine to the praise and glory of God.
Be people of prayer this week, pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Go to confession if you can, pray the rosary, go to daily mass and together let us pray for the power of God to manifest itself in this Church in your parish, and throughout the world.
Novena Prayer: Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit upon our Church on Pentecost Sunday. Let your glory shine on that day, that all may see your power and might. Lead our enemies to know your truth, our persecutors to find your light. Lead us to be strong in the Lord and to be filled with your Holy Spirit on that day and forward. Show us that darkness in our midst cast it out from among us. Strengthen us that we may always be your light to a world in Darkness.
We ask this through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
http://www.catholicismanew.org MA, US
Fr. Robert J. Carr - Parochial Vicar, 617 625-0029
Sin, Glory, Judgement, Romans
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