THURSDAY HOMILY: Raise Your Heads and Hold up the Sky. No More Chicken Littles.
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.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: end times, second coming, parousia, maranatha, chicken little, hope, faith, love, fear, End of the world, Deacon Keith Fournier
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