Friday, June 8, 2018

Quote from Some Current Questions in Eschatology (1992)

2. There is silence about eschatology today for other reasons, of which we single out one: that is, the rebirth of the tendency to establish an innerworldly eschatology. This tendency is well known in the history of theology, and beginning with the Middle Ages it constituted what came to be called “the spiritual heritage of Joachim de Fiore”.

This tendency is found in some theologians of liberation, who so insist on the importance of establishing the kingdom of God as something within our own history on earth that the salvation which transcends history seems to become of rather secondary interest. Certainly, these theologians do not deny in any way the truth of realities beyond human life and history. But since the kingdom of God is located in a society without divisions, “the third age” in which “the eternal Gospel” (Rev 14:6-7) and the kingdom of the Spirit are to flourish is introduced in a new and secularized form.

In this way a certain kind of “eschaton” is brought within historical time. This “eschaton” is not presented as the ultimate absolute, but as a relative absolute. Nonetheless, Christian praxis is directed so exclusively to the establishment of this eschaton that the Gospel is read reductively, so that whatever pertains to the eschatological realities absolutely considered is in great part passed over in silence. In this way, in a theological system of this sort, “one places oneself within the perspective of a temporal messianism, which is one of the most radical of the expressions of secularisation of the Kingdom of God and of its absorption into the immanence of human history."

Theological hope loses its full strength when it is replaced by a political dynamism. This happens when a political dimension becomes the “principal and exclusive dimension, leading to a reductionist reading of Scripture”.12 It must be noted that a way of proposing eschatology that introduces a reductionist reading of the Gospel cannot be admitted, even if there are taken from the Marxist system none of those elements which could hardly be reconciled with Christianity.

It is well known that classical Marxism considered religion as the “opium” of the people: for religion, “by arousing mans hope for a deceptive future life, thereby [diverted] him from the constructing of the earthly city.”13 This accusation is entirely without objective basis. It is rather materialism that deprives people of true motives for building up the world. For why would one struggle, if there is nothing for us to await after this earthly life? “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (Is 22:13). On the contrary, it is certain that “a hope related to the end of time does not diminish the importance of intervening duties but rather undergirds the acquittal of them with fresh incentives.”

Friday, January 12, 2018

Significance of the Color White in Revelation

"His bride is ready, and she has been able to dress herself in dazzling white linen, because her linen is made of the good deeds of the saints." 
(Revelation 19:8)

A white object emits or reflects all colors of the spectrum, a rainbow.  For example the Sun emits at all frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum at once.  A white linen reflects the Sun's colors.  White, in this Divinely inspired context relates a concept of completeness, a wholeness, an integrity.  White is all possible good deeds, all possible graces, all manner of virtues, all talents; thread together into one.  There is no deprivation.  Jesus, and his bride the Church, especially the completed Church post Resurrection is a manifestation of this Divine concept.  And each individual angel and saint is a unique microcosm of this Divine white.

Traditionally, white is perhaps understood as purity.  This is to some degree a valid interpretation.  And yet it seems to lack depth.  Surely God, who first conceived light and created all the subatomic objects which mediate light, means more.  And with progress of our understanding through the ages, new subtleties are revealed until our brains are complete.

It is like two footballers playing the same position, say striker.  One is a pro.  He is skilled at scoring in one or two ways.  He finds some level of success.  The other striker is elite ... world class.  This striker can score goals using his right foot, his left, his head.  He can poach goals, score from distance, from free kicks, from penalties.  He knows all the angles.  He is a complete striker.  For our purposes a white striker.

What can we take from this meditation?  If we want to be saints perhaps we should not be one trick ponies before God and our neighbor.  Strive to practice all manner of good deeds and all virtues from humble to magnanimous.  Respond to all graces.  Let the Holy Spirit take you out of your comfort zone.  Let him take you where you would not go.  The potential is there and Jesus is calling us to don the dazzling white linen in the end.  Amen.  

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Least in the Kingdom of Heaven

"Amen I say to you, among those born of women, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is." (Matthew 11:11)

Saint John the Baptist is by far my favorite Saint.  I strive to imitate him in my unique situation in life.  For clarity in regards to his life, quality, virtues and works I recommend reading Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich's visions.  

This teaching of Jesus has always been a bit enigmatic to me, however this morning at Mass I seemed to have had a moment of clarity.  I think interpreters have tended to overthink this teaching.  Surely we can assume that Mary and Jesus Himself are excluded from this teaching since they both had miraculous conceptions and births as well as dignity and works that are in another league than anyone.  They are in one sense incomparable.  What I think Jesus is teaching here is that once one graduates to Heaven, sees God face to face, and so on, one is endowed with a certain dignity and power that cannot possibly be attained on this Earth as a member of the Church on Earth.  So even though John the Baptist was in his time the greatest and holiest among the active Church on Earth he is still not equvalent to even the least member of Heaven which of course included the Holy Angels at his time.  Jesus is providing a concept, a comparison of the unspeakable greatness of those with God in Heaven.  

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hosea 8:7

They sow the wind, and so they will reap the whirlwind! The stalk does not have any standing grain; it will not produce any flour. Even if it were to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it all up. (Hosea 8:7)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Transform Them into His Majestic Warhorse (Zechariah 10:3)

For the household gods [televisions, computers, iphones, etc.] have spoken wickedness, the soothsayers [media personalities] have seen a lie, and as for the dreamers [gurus, commentators], they have disclosed emptiness and give comfort in vain. Therefore the people set out like sheep and become scattered because they have no shepherd. I am enraged at the shepherds [some priests, a few bishops and cardinals] and will punish the lead-goats [presidents, elite, etc.]. For the LORD who rules over all has brought blessing to his flock, the house of Judah, and will transform them into his majestic warhorse. From him will come the cornerstone [Jesus], the wall peg [Great Monarch], the battle bow, and every ruler. And they will be like warriors trampling the mud of the streets in battle. They will fight, for the LORD will be with them, and will defeat the enemy cavalry. (Zechariah 10:3, NET version)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Main Roman Road Connecting the Seven Churches of Asia

It is not clear why these seven were chosen to represent the whole church, though they are connected by being located on the main Roman road at intervals of about thirty or forty miles. ---(M. Eugene Boring, Revelation, p. 87)
The arrangement of the cities is geographically significant: the seven all lay on a main Roman road and formed a circuit, starting from Ephesus, the nearest to Patmos. (John Sweet, Revelation, John Sweet, p. 78)

That all seven cities chosen by Jesus to prophetically model the Church, were connected by a main Roman road is of great significance. This signifies that the whole Church on Earth, passing from generation to generation is unified, connected, and continued without fail by the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter, also called the Pope.  The Angel of each Church serves as a moniker, a collective noun, for every single Pope who led for the duration of each respective Church.  

The geographical circuit, starting with Ephesus and ending in Laodicea, prophetically mimics the full circle the Church will voyage from the First Coming of Jesus culminating in his Ascension to his Return, as well as conclusion in which God will wrap up world, even this Earth as we know it so to create a New Earth.        

Monday, October 24, 2016

Pope Francis on Rigidity

"But some of you might remember. You couldn’t even drink a drop of water. Not even that! And to brush your teeth, it had to be done in such a way that you didn’t swallow the water. But I myself as a young boy went to confession for having made the Communion, because I thought a drop of water had gone in. Is it true or no? It’s true. When Pius XII changed the discipline: ‘Ah, heresy! No! He touched the discipline of the Church.’ So many Pharisees were scandalized. So many. Because Pius XII had acted like Jesus: he saw the need of the people. ‘But the poor people, with such warmth.’ These priests who said three Masses, the last at one o’clock, after noon, fasting. The discipline of the Church. And these Pharisees [spoke about] ‘our discipline’ – rigid on the outside, but, as Jesus said of them, ‘rotting in the heart,’ weak, weak to the point of rottenness. Gloomy in the heart.” (Homily, December 15th, 2015)

This (is the) healthy realism of the Catholic Church: the Church never teaches us ‘or this or that.’ That is not Catholic. The Church says to us: ‘this and that.’ ‘Strive for perfectionism: reconcile with your brother. Do not insult him. Love him. And if there is a problem, at the very least settle your differences so that war doesn’t break out.’ This (is) the healthy realism of Catholicism. It is not Catholic (to say) ‘or this or nothing:’ This is not Catholic, this is heretical. Jesus always knows how to accompany us, he gives us the ideal, he accompanies us towards the ideal, He frees us from the chains of the laws' rigidity and tells us: ‘But do that up to the point that you are capable.’ And he understands us very well. He is our Lord and this is what he teaches us.” (Homily, September 6th, 2016)

And pointing out that the Jesus responded calling the leaders of the synagogue ‘hypocrites’, the Pope observed that this is an accusation Jesus often makes to those who follow the Law with rigidity. “The Law – he explained – was not drawn up to enslave us but to set us free, to make us God’s children”.

Concealed by rigidity, Pope Francis said, there is always something else! That’s why Jesus uses the word ‘hypocrites!’:

"Behind an attitude of rigidity there is always something else in the life of a person. Rigidity is not a gift of God. Meekness is; goodness is; benevolence is; forgiveness is. But rigidity isn’t!” he said.

In many cases, the Pope continued, rigidity conceals the leading of a double life; but, he pointed out, there can also be something pathological.

Commenting on the difficulties and suffering that afflict a person who is both rigid and sincere, the Pope said this is because they lack the freedom of God's children: “they do not know how to walk in the path indicated by God’s Law”.

“They appear good because they follow the Law; but they are concealing something else: either they are hypocritical or they are sick. And they suffer!” he said. (Homily, October 24th, 2016)