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Browsing Fr. Joel Hastings

Is the end time near/How can lay people help with the recent scandal

Since all the things going on in the Catholic Church, do you think the end will come soon?

           When the subject of the end of the world comes up, it is always important to remember two key truths, both of which Jesus addresses openly and directly in the Gospels.  One is his own word that no one knows the day nor the hour of the end.  Accordingly, while there have always been people who will openly proclaim that “the end is near,” they have no idea on the exact time or date.

          On the other hand, Jesus likewise tells us to “stay awake” or “remain vigilant,” indicating that the end will come in a way that is not expected, at an unexpected time, or both.  Thus, we must never “grow weary;” but always live in awareness and expectation of the coming of the end, lest we be caught off guard and unprepared to meet the Lord.

Thus (and more toward an answer of the very direct question here), that we are living in a time of scandal, division, and chaos does not directly mean that the end will come soon.  Though Jesus speaks of the “signs” of his return, many of which are identifiable with happenings in the world at this time, rather than wondering “is this it?”, we best serve the Lord and remain in Him by our continued repentance, our opening of ourselves to his grace (especially in the sacraments), our commitment to prayer, and our keeping of the commandments as ways to grow in holiness – following Him toward the “narrow gate” that He Himself takes us through.  By seeking to live this way every day, we will remain vigilant and ready for His return, no matter when that return may be.

 How can the lay people help with the recent Church scandal?

           Though this question was submitted separately from the one immediately above (on the end of times), might I first borrow from above, simply answering this particular question with the same directives for a Church in scandal and division.  Our acts of repentance, our fidelity to the sacraments, our daily lives of prayer, and our keeping of the truth by living of the commandments all serve to purify and strengthen the Church from within – at it is by such living of the faith that the very nature of who the Church is called to be is most properly fulfilled and such a way of life is also a key way of strengthening the body.

  Recently I listened to a homily online where the priest spoke to this very question of how the people in the Church can give ongoing response to this crisis.  His response was simple, giving four things that all begin with the letter “P” as the way to help:   Prayer, Penance, Persevere, and Pressure.

 Prayer – for the truth to be known; for an end to corruption; for restoration and purification in the Church.

Penance – even in small, daily acts of self-denial have true power.

Persevere – keep the faith – keep the focus on Jesus and His Eternal Kingdom.

Pressure – Keep pressure on so that this scandal does not go away until it is truly corrected and such corruption and sin is purged from the Church.

 Please understand that as we continue to journey in this time, it will be by our willingness to place our complete trust in God, relying upon Him and on the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that we will be led to the renewal in the Church and to our sanctification – leading us once more toward and through the “narrow gate,” entered by true followers of Christ.

 

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