The Day of the Lord
Father Shannon M. Collins, CPM
33rd Sunday in OT -Year C
"Neither must you be perturbed when you hear of wars and insurrections. These things are bound to happen first, but the end does not follow immediately" (Luke 21).
i. Christ and His Holy Catholic Church are one — Bridegroom and Bride — Head and Body. The two are inseparable. Because of this truth, one can conclude that the Church will experience in some mysterious way all that Christ experienced during His earthly pilgrimage. In fact, some have compared the Life of Christ with the history of the Church. For example, as the infant Christ was persecuted by the evil Herod, so the infant Church was persecuted in her beginning years when Mass was celebrated in the Catacombs and martyrs shed their blood in the Coliseum. Eventually, the good Lord would live a very hidden life in Nazareth as He approached adulthood. In her early years the Church would also live a very hidden life as many of her members embraced the life of solitude in the desert, as well as the monastic life. Christ would live a very ordinary life as a grown man, as He took on the duties of a carpenter — the God-Man living in the world, but never of the world. And so His Catholic Church would grow within the world, in families, in neighborhoods, in the workplace — even local parishes would develop. But eventually Christ Jesus would take on the life of a missionary — actively preaching the Holy Gospel. As the Head went out to enlighten, so the Body of Christ, the Church, would send her own missionaries throughout the world to tell the Good News. By the time our dear Lord reached 33 years old, He would experience His Passion and Death on the Holy Wood of the Cross. Now the Church has certainly experienced difficult trials and tribulations, but she has not yet gone all the way to Calvary. Her mysterious crucifixion — her mystical Passion and Death will happen fully in those last days when the forces of evil will seek to destroy her.
ii. In today's readings, the end of the world is spoken of quite openly — what the prophet Malachi calls the Day of the Lord. Christ Jesus also speaks of wars and insurrections, famines and disease, earthquakes and great signs in the heavens, as well persecutions against His Holy Catholic Church. And yet our dear Lord cautions His disciples —do not be misled. Many will come in My Name saying... the time is at hand. Do not follow them... These things are bound to happen first, but the end is not so soon. In these difficult times in which we live, when many are speaking about the end being near, let us be cautious. First, we must realize that we have been in the End Times for the past 2,000 years. Since the Coming of Christ — Since the First Advent of our Savior the Final Word has been spoken — the last chapter of Revelation has been written and the End of the Book is near. Being in the End Times, therefore, is nothing new for us. But we ought to avoid being like modern day Chicken Littles claiming that the sky is falling — we must avoid being like those Thessalonians of old who were constantly shirking their daily duties as they awaited the Day of the Lord. Rather we ought to be attending to the message of our dear Holy Father who is constantly repeating the phrase — Be not afraid.
iii. It is my opinion that the Day of the Lord is not that near. I say that because the signs of the Last Days have not been fulfilled — Those five major signs mentioned in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition have yet to be fully seen. The Gospel being preached to every creature, for example, is still ongoing. The sign of the Jews converting to Catholicism has not yet been seen. An apostasy — that is a complete rejection of Christianity may be seen in some parts of the West — but the sign of the Last Days is a universal apostasy that afflicts every place on earth. The spirit of the Anti-Christ is certainly present, but as for the actual man of sin, that son of perdition — he may still be restrained at this time. And finally, we know that there are numerous natural disasters present in our world, along with persecutions against Christians. But the scale of trials, tribulations, and persecutions will be much greater towards the Last Days. For right now, let us be concerned about remaining in the state of grace — staying away from sin, especially mortal sin — and if we have fallen seeking to repent immediately in the Confessional — because our own death and our own particular judgment will be the Second Coming of Christ for us.
iv. Sr. Agnes of Akita is a member of the Handmaids of the Holy Eucharist. She is a humble nun living in a religious community in Akita, Japan. She received revelations from her guardian angel and the Blessed Virgin between 1975 and 1982. Sr. Agnes also received the stigmata of our Lord in her right hand which was miraculously matched by a similar wound in the right hand of the statue of Our Lady in her convent chapel. The truth of these events and revelations has been attested to by Bishop Ito and by others in the hierarchy. The reason I mention Sr. Agnes of Akita is because she represents a long line of saintly witnesses that attest to a chastisement against the human race because of its sins. That is, a merciful correction and just punishment inflicted upon us by God the Father. In one of the messages Our Lady says to Sr. Agnes: In order that the world might know His anger, the Heavenly Father is preparing to inflict a great chastisement on all mankind. With my Son I have intervened so many times to appease the wrath of the Father. Another message states: If men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the flood — fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity.
v. I could give you literally hundreds of similar messages all from approved apparitions and the writings of the saints, as well as the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. In short, we are being told by the good Lord that a chastisement may come well before the end of the world. Instead of focusing in on the Day of the Lord to come, focus in on the present danger. That is, well before the Day of the Lord, we may be visited with a punishment greater than the flood of old. Many, in fact, may confuse this with the actual Day of the Lord, when in fact it is a merciful correction meant to bring about conversion and an eventual age of peace. But again, we are not to act like Chicken Littles nor like the Thessalonians of old, but rather like the Ninevites who responded to the threat of chastisement with prayers, fastings, and penances. We are to live the present moment seeking holiness now. In addition, we ought to do everything in our power to join our Lady in holding back the hand of God — to lessen the chastisement. Our Lady said that our prayers and penances have power. The Blessed Mother made this appeal to Sr. Agnes and to all true disciples: I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering God the Father the sufferings of the Son on the Cross, His Precious Blood, and beloved souls who console Him forming a group of victim souls. Our Lady then provides an answer to mitigating the wrath of God: Prayer, penance, and courageous sacrifices can soften the Father's anger.