Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

11/29/2012 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Raise your heads and hold up the sky. Fear is useless, what is needed is trust.

The Second Coming of the Lord should become the focal point of our life and the foundation of our worldview. The early Christians used an Aramaic word to express the hope it generated, "Maranatha", loosely translated "Come Lord Jesus".

Chicken Little

Chicken Little


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

11/29/2012 (4 years ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: end times, second coming, parousia, maranatha, chicken little, hope, faith, love, fear, End of the world, Deacon Keith Fournier

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - On Thursday of the last week of the Church Year our readings point to the end of this current world and the birth of the new heaven and new earth; the culmination of our experience of time and the beginning of eternity.

The Gospel which I proclaim at Mass (Luke 21:20-28) is prophetic in two respects. Jesus predicts the devastation of Jerusalem. That did indeed occur in 70 AD. And St Luke, the writer of the Gospel, had probably already witnessed it as he set down his account. 

It becomes the context within which Luke sends a message: we can place our confidence in the promise of the Lord's return. For Christians, the events which precede the Lord's final return should not engender fear. They promise the fullness of God's loving plan for the entire universe.  We are told "when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand."   

Since Sunday's celebration of the Feast of Christ the King our readings have pointed toward the "parousia", the Second Coming of the Lord. Sadly, a virtual cottage industry has grown up around a misguided attempt to "read the signs of the times", complete with timelines and false predictions.

Many of these efforts generate fear, rather than build living faith. Yet it is living faith which is the key to making ourselves - and the world - ready for the great event to which all human history points.  The Second Coming is our "True North." Jesus will come to close the current period of human history and establish the eternal Kingdom.

For Christians, the Second Coming of the Lord should become the focal point of our life and the foundation of our worldview. The early Christians used an Aramaic word to express the hope it generated "Maranatha", loosely translated "Come Lord Jesus".

The words written by the beloved Disciple John in the Revelation given to him on that island of Patmos, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev 22:20) reflect an early liturgical phrase. They also reveal a lifestyle of living ready.

During this last week of the Church year we should reflect on how we are living and whether we are making ourselves - and the entire human race and created order  -  more ready for His Return.

For many the thought of the "end" of this world as we know it causes fear. Not unlike the fear of death which grips those who have not experienced being set free by Jesus Christ. In the words of the ancient troparion of the Easter Liturgy, "Christ has Risen from the Dead Trampling on death by death and on those in the tombs, lavishing life."

Are we living in fear or are we living by faith? These words of Jesus should help guide our response to the question, "Fear is useless; what is needed is trust." (Luke 8:50, Mark 5:36)

The condition of many Christians these days is more akin to the fear demonstrated by the childhood story of Chicken Little than to the faith to which we are all called by Baptism.  Most of my readers recall the story:

"Chicken Little was in the woods one day when an acorn fell on her head. It scared her so much she trembled all over. She shook so hard, half her feathers fell out. Chicken Little: "Help! Help! The sky is falling! I have to go tell the king!"

The story proceeds through many different encounters and ends with the little chicken learning the lessons of courage and the practicality of good preparation for every journey in life.

What happened to faith, hope and love, those "theological virtues" infused within us when we rose from those waters? Why, of all people, do those who know the real King and Sovereign of the entire universe so easily give in to the kind of crippling fear which is such an impediment to living faith?

I have made a decision I invite my readers to consider. I am going to put up my spiritual umbrella every morning before I open my E Mails. Oh, do not get me wrong, I pray every morning. I could not do what I do daily and wear all the hats that accompany my specific vocation without having that intimate morning communion with the Lord.

I have started to once again open up my E Mail's over that cup of coffee before I pray. No more. Too many "Chicken Littles" are using the World Wide Web to throw acorns and I need my umbrella!

Please, do not think that I am suffering from nańŹvet√©. I have been in the trenches for years. I truly grasp the gravity of the very real challenges and struggles we face in this contemporary culture of death.

I understand the deep effects of what our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI rightly called the Dictatorship of Relativism. I know how hard it is to live as a Christian husband, father, grandfather, deacon, lawyer and activist in an age which has lost its moral compass.

However, perhaps because I have also spent many years studying our Christian history, I know that none of this is new. We are not the first generation of Christians to live in a culture of death. The early Christians went into a declining Roman empire that accepted the placing of unwanted infants out on rocks to be either eaten by animals or taken by slave traders as normal!

It was a practice called exposure. Those early followers of Jesus Christ - and many, many other Christians throughout the ages - have also faced the rancid fruit that accompanies a culture's descent into hedonism and self idolatry. However, they went into their cultures as leaven and light, filled with faith, hope and love - and transformed them from within. So must we.

We are called to follow the One who stretched out His arms and embraced the whole world on that second tree on Calvary's hill, doing for us what we could never do for ourselves. That Cross brought heaven to earth and earth to heaven, forming a bridge between them.

With His great act of surrendered love, He who knew no sin ended the separation which resulted from it and created the world anew in Himself. (See, 2 Cor. 5: 17 - 21) From the wounded side of the New Man, the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, the Church was formed and that Church is called to continue His redemptive work until He returns to complete the total recapitulation of all things.

He defeated death by Death and through His glorious Resurrection He mediates the hope that we who bear His name can walk in, if we choose to do so. So, let the acorns fall all around you, I assure you the sky is not falling, even if it appears to be.

Christians are called to hold the sky up for others by living our lives now in Christ and helping those bound by the fear of death to find new life in the One who conquered it. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews explains:

"Now since the children share in blood and flesh, he likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life" (Heb 2:14-15)

I am also going to practice a technological version of what has long been called custody of the eyes in Moral theology. I am going to stop reading the articles, blog posts and commentaries by the growing number of naysayers in our camp who are losing the supernatural sight which is informed by faith and fueled by Christian hope.

They are the Chicken Little's of our time and seem to have forgotten their umbrellas. Our Catechism reminds us in one of its numerous treatments concerning hope that "The first commandment is also concerned with sins against hope, namely, despair and presumption". (CCC #2091)

By the way, we should remember the end of that little childhood story: "Chicken Little always carried an umbrella with her when she walked in the woods. The umbrella was a present from the king. And if - KERPLUNK - an acorn fell, Chicken Little didn't mind a bit. In fact, she didn't notice it at all."

Raise your heads and hold up the sky. Fear is useless, what is needed is trust. 


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'

Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.


More Year of Faith

The Happy Priest on the Baptism of the Lord and our own Baptism Watch

Image of

By Fr. James Farfaglia

The consideration of Jesus' baptism, gives us an opportunity to remember our own baptism.  If you do not know the date of your own baptism, it is a good idea to go through your personal files and find out when it occurred.  CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic ... continue reading

Regret of Judas or Repentance of Peter?

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. HYTHE, KENT, UK (Catholic Online) - I didn't steal any cookies mommy! says a little boy whose mother asked him if he was hungry, wiping the ... continue reading

Pentecost: St Cyril of Jerusalem on The Living Water of the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online

The Spirit makes one man a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables another to interpret holy Scripture. The Spirit strengthens one man's self-control, shows another how to help the poor, teaches ... continue reading

The Wedding Invitation of Jesus: We are Called to Live the Nuptial Mystery Watch

Image of There will be no giving or taking in marriage in the kingdom to come because the very purpose and meaning of marriage itself will be fulfilled. (See, e.g. Mk. 12:18-27) We will be living in the fullness of the Communion of Love with the Trinity. The symbol will give way to the eternal reality, the Sacrament will be fulfilled in the fullness of communion. All of human love will be completed in the Love which lasts forever.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is not accidental that the Bible, from beginning to the end, uses marriage as a metaphor and a symbol to reveal the plan of God for the whole human race.  Marriage was God's plan from the beginning as we see in the first book of Genesis. Throughout the Old ... continue reading

The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading

Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading

Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading

The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading

Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading

Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading

All Year of Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 9:15, 24-28
15 This makes him the mediator of a new covenant, so that, now that a ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm] Sing a new song to Yahweh, for he has performed wonders, his ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:22-30
22 The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were saying, 'Beelzebul ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 23rd, 2017 Image

St. Ildephonsus
January 23: St. Ildephonsus is highly regarded in Spain and ... Read More