I suspect the following words from today’s Gospel have crossed the lips of more than a few devout fathers of teenage boys as their knees pressed hard against the floor: “Lord, have pity on my son, who is a lunatic…” but that’s a reflection for another day.
Today I want to hold high the phenomenal work of Mark Mallett, whose writings I’m sure at least some of you will be familiar with, as he has been a clear voice and beacon in the storm for many years, guiding us down the narrow path, pointing out the signs to be on the outlook for, and always reminding us to “watch” so we will indeed be part of that prophesied tiny remnant that holds fast to faith in the power of God and the saving mercy and love of our Lord Jesus in the final days before the Illumination of Conscience, the reign of “the” antichrist, etc.
Mark’s piece he published yesterday (August 6, 2021) titled, “The Enemy is Within the Gates,’ is a sobering challenge for all of us to shift our thinking from simply seeing ourselves as engaged in a ‘battle’ (we will lose that battle, as is evident from the facts defining the power of evil controlling public opinion and governments, which is acknowledged by Mark), to focusing on the victory and the Victor – Jesus – who has already won the war against sin and death!
Given this context, the question now becomes: “What now?”
The answer is found in today’s Gospel: we must have more faith in the power of God, more trust in the promises of God, and more obedience to the words of Jesus, who told us to believe that the Father loves us immeasurably, and wants to give us every good thing, and that all things would be possible with God if we were to only believe, even saying – I know, it’s hard to believe – that we would do greater things than he did while walking the earth:
“Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me—or at least believe on account of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” [John 14:11-13].
The main “to do” that should be at the top of all our “to do” lists must, therefore, be personal holiness, beginning with a sincere and complete repentance, then a complete forgetting about our past sins and failings as we shift our focus completely away from self to Jesus.
We need to make Jesus our daily “project” with us seeking answers to questions like, “how are we to be like Him?” and “how we can live in the Divine Will today?” always remaining aware of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit operating within us, reminding us of all we need to know to imitate and follow Jesus, and giving us the confidence, courage and capacity to do the Will of God.
That “imitating and following” continues to be for us the key part of what we should be about: to be a light in the darkness, a beacon of peace and joy for others, bringing them an awareness of the truth about what is happening in the world on the one hand, and the Good News of the free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ and eternal life in God on the other.
To the faithful, we bring reminders of the prophecies that warn us to ‘watch and pray,’ and never let the oil run out in our lamps, as we await the signal manifestation of the power of God to come upon the earth, which is very soon to made manifest in the world in a most marvellous way that will reveal the glory and majesty of God to all but the most hard-hearted, who will unfortunately continue to be deceived by the darkness of sin possessing their minds with futility, minds that should be seeing and mirroring the truth of God, and inspiring our hearts to unite with that truth, out of desire for what is good, that truth and goodness being one and same thing: God.
I would not at all be surprised to see two things happen before the end of the year, probably in this order:
(1) the outbreak of a war with immediate global significance; and
(2) an unprecedented ‘shaking’ of the earth, with multiple volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.
If you ask, “what makes you say that?” the answer is a combination of:
(1) various prophecies and messages allegedly received by a number of contemporary seers, and,
(2) a growing sense that these things will happen, because they must happen in God’s plan, although I have no intellectual or cognitive support for that growing sense of “assurance.”
What and when doesn’t matter. WHO is what matters – Jesus.
There is only one thing we must be certain of when the time comes to confront the truth fully: that we are ready to greet our Lord with joy and not fear, our Lord who will manifest His power and truth, and show us ourselves in an instant, and just how far we are indeed from the perfect union with Him that He longs for – our hearts. That’s really the “one thing necessary” now, to repent and pray and stay in the presence of God.
To stay in the presence of God is to stay the hell out of our imaginations, to say “no” to gossip and idle speculations, and the wanderings and “wonderings” that come from worries.
I can promise I know this is a fact: the keys to our imaginations have been seized by evil spirits, and God is allowing that for the time being to compel us to rely only on Him in the “present presence” in which we are called to abide.
It’s not hard to understand why this is true, i.e., that the demons have the keys to our imagination, with so much fear, confusion, uncertainty and anxiety forming the foundation of our collective social unconscious, which is, COMPLETELY BASED ON A LIE; a lie that propaganda has convinced the majority of people is the truth.
To protect our interior spiritual lives, it is plain foolish to risk any idle speculations and imaginings about what we don’t know, unless we are doing serious research, as we seek to know what we should know.
But more importantly, we need to be aware of what we should not be seeking to know, and what can not be known with any certainty anyways, namely two key things, or ‘categories’ of inquiry:
(1) “why” things are happening, and the intentions within individuals that we believe “may” explain why; and
(2) “what” things will happen, based on our strategic sense of how things are currently set up and unfolding, and what that will then likely bring in the future.
Both are foolish wastes of time. We have no idea what God has in mind when it comes to when exactly He will intervene in the evil mess we have created in the world, but we know He will intervene, and when He does, it will change everything.
Our plans and imaginings will evaporate like the waste of time that they are when God acts, at least those plans and imaginings that we conceive in fear, when our anxiety takes over and takes precedence over trust in God.
To want to know is natural…the disciples wanted to know. But we must accept the same response that Jesus gave the disciples when they asked, then move on:
“So when they came together, they asked Him, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus replied, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” [Acts 1:6-8]
There you have it! It is not for us to know the details, but only to know the warning signs so we can better prepare, and help others prepare, with the really important part of Jesus’ answer being: “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…,” that will move us to be witnesses to the Gospel.
The Gospel reading is all about Jesus trying to get us to believe Him when he said nothing would be impossible for us if we were to have faith the size of a mustard seed.
Why a mustard seed?
Because from the smallest comes the biggest:
“He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom from heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in his field. 32 Although it is the smallest of all seeds, when it is fully grown it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, and the birds in the sky come and nest in its branches.” [Matthew 13: 31-33]
When I was reading Mark’s article, I would come across a paragraph and then stop to copy and paste it to use as a “teaser” in my preamble to encourage people to read it, after I decided I wanted to share his writing. The problem was, I would then immediately abandon that paragraph in favour of the next one which was even more insightful, and then the next one, etc.
It’s all woven together wonderfully, but I did especially like the power of the following paragraph, for its sheer honesty, challenging us to confront the deep truths that define the situation within which we are now living in the world and in the Church.
From Mark’s article:
The walls have been breached. The propaganda has successfully demonized the “unvaccinated” and their persecution will be swift and brutal. It is too late now to stop the medical apartheid taking place. The lessons of history — the demonization of the Jews and the segregation of the blacks, for instance — have been swiftly forgotten. The “Never again!” mantra of Holocaust survivors has quickly turned into “Yes, do it again!” For when we see that the Pope himself is, in effect, leading the flock into the dark pastures of this apartheid (whether he is aware of this reality or not), then clearly, the gates have been broken down, and the enemy of division, fear, and control is within. What more, then, can the watchman say?”
“Jesus, like the Apostles, we struggle to believe that we could really make a mountain move if we had enough faith. We say with the desperate father of the boy seized by a demon, “I do believe; help my unbelief!” [Mark 9:24]. Help us to stay in your presence and not seek to know what is not necessary to know to do the Will of the Father in imitation of you.
Let us also trust the love in our relationships, forged with thousands of decisions over years, and not succumb to the suspicions and judgements borne only from fear and anxiety, that can so easily trap us into making impulsive, harmful and evil decisions to stop loving.” Amen.