"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Fr. Campbell, "“The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand” (Mt.3:2)

“The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand” (Mt.3:2)

Fr. Campbell 

The Church celebrates three nativities – the Nativity of the Lord, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. Sanctified in the womb of his mother, St. Elizabeth, John was living in a graced world even before his birth. As he grew to manhood he remained untouched by sin and had nothing in common with the sinful world around him, which was not yet rescued from its sinful condition by the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, Who was born “to take away the sins of the world.”

Unfortunately, today the world shows little sign of redemption and has surrendered to the devil’s power two thousand years after the birth of the Savior. The world does not know Him. And the enemies of the cross of Christ are hitting new lows in their deliberate attempt to corrupt the minds and souls of people everywhere, especially the young. 

Most people want to be good, but when their innocence is lost and they can’t find their way back, they sink down and down into the moral cesspool around them. Shouldn’t it make us angry when someone posts pornographic images and salacious material of all kinds to corrupt us and bring us down lower than the beasts?

We can’t all be separated from the world as John the Baptist was, but we can all draw our own lines of separation. We can live in a graced world. We can begin by carefully avoiding the occasions of sin, meaning persons, places, or things which tend to draw us away from God and into sin. Whether neighbors, friends, boyfriend or girlfriend, even members of our own family, we can’t allow them to corrupt us by expecting us to accept the current moral standards that offend God so grievously. Sometimes the only way to do them any good is to sever the relationship completely. Our Lord warned us:

“Woe to the world because of scandals! For it must needs be that scandals come, but woe to the man through whom scandal does come! And if thy hand or thy foot is an occasion of sin to thee, cut it off and cast it from thee! It is better for thee to enter life maimed or lame, than, having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if thy eye is an occasion of sin to thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee! It is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, then, having two eyes, to be cast into hell-fire” (Mt.18:7-9).

The world belongs to God and to His children. But the devil has usurped ownership, and most people of the world today are “useful idiots” of the Revolution which he has instigated. From now on his intention is that good will be considered evil, and evil will be considered good. And this is exactly what is happening. The Prophet Isaiah warned us:

“Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter… Therefore as the tongue of the fire devoureth the stubble, and the heat of the flame consumeth it: so shall their root be as ashes, and their bud shall go up as dust. For they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and have blasphemed the word of the Holy One of Israel” (Is.5:20;24).

Those who try to uphold moral standards in keeping with the Commandments of God will be considered criminals. Already it is becoming a criminal offense in many places to uphold Christian standards with regard to marriage and family life. Even the word “marriage” is to be an offense against those who live in illicit relationships. The rules are changing quickly.

But the world belongs to us, under God. God told our first parents, Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle and all the animals that crawl on the earth” (Gen.1:28b).

We can make a better world than they can if we are obedient to God, and if we value truth and love and goodness. They succeed only in destroying souls. Ultimately they will destroy the world itself. But we can succeed in building up the Body of Christ and healing the world of its wounds. That is, unless the Lord decides that it is time to bring the world to its fiery conclusion.

We don’t have to be helpless victims. We don’t have to accept what the world considers entertainment, like their vulgar and obscene movies and TV programs. And we don’t have to use their blasphemous language or follow their immodest fashions. We can’t laugh at Christian virtues being trashed and God’s world being made a playground for the devil and his slaves.

The Church sees the condemnation of the devil’s pride in these words from the prophet Isaiah:

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? How art thou fallen to the earth that didst wound the nations? And thou saidst in thy heart: I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the height of the clouds. I will be like the most High. But yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, into the depth of the pit…” (Is.14:12-15).

We can free ourselves by returning to Jesus Christ and the world of grace in which the saints like John the Baptist lived. While we still have the true Sacrifice of the Mass and the holy Sacraments of the Church we can go forth like Davids against the Goliaths of the corrupt world. And even when we find ourselves alone, unprotected and defenseless, like John the Baptist in his final days in prison, we will never be defeated as long as we hold to our faith in Jesus Christ and conduct ourselves like His true disciples. The message Our Savior sent to John in prison are for us too:

“Go and report to John what you have heard and seen: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not scandalized in me” (Mt.11:4b-6).