Recently there has been a phenomenon of conspiratorial thinking known as QAnon. The basic premise of this conspiracy is that there is a deep state of truly evil people (in some iteration, reptilian humanoids) pulling the world's strings and a vast global conspiracy to enslave us all to Satan. This conspiracy line is also heavily dependent on Sacred Scripture to find footing and believability by those of Christian Faith.
The Second Reading for today might give more Eschatological credence to this phenomenon. For your sake, I hope I am not the first person to tell you these claims by the Q community have never come to fruition in any way. In fact, the inauguration of a new United States President debunks the majority of Q's claims.
But this conspiracy is especially toxic to the Eschatological (read: End Times) prophecies of the Catholic Church. In his letter, Paul extols to us that the world will be upside down when the end time comes. Married people will be acting as if they were not married, those with joy will be filled with sorrow, etc. The "Deep State," a Global Pandemic, nuclear threats, immorality, greed, etc., all might raise our awareness of the second coming. Sure, there is room to debate that those times are now but let us not forget a few things.
LAST WEEK during the Eucharistic Prayer, we heard this passage from the Roman Missal:
"Grant us, O Lord, we pray,
That we may participate worthily in these mysteries,
for whenever the memorial of this sacrifice is celebrated
the work of our redemption is accomplished.
Through Christ our Lord." - prayer over the offerings, Second Sunday in Ordinary Times, Roman Missal.
I've mentioned this passage before, but it is something we need to remember as we contemplate whether we indeed see the "end times."
This prayer states a truth about our participation in Mass. Our participation in this continuing sacrifice of Christ saves the world. Literally, it saves the world. It draws upon the story of Sodom and how Abraham intercedes for its inhabitants. "But he persisted: “Please, do not let my Lord be angry if I speak up this last time. What if ten are found there?” For the sake of the ten, he replied, I will not destroy it.- Genesis 18:32, NABRE
It also pulls directly from this week's first reading from Jonah:
"When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out." -Jonah 3:1-5, 10
God promised Abraham that if just ten righteous people live in Sodom, God will spare the entire city. Similarly, God does this for Ninevah. See, a God of HIS WORD.
Now, are there not ten righteous people celebrating Mass in every city, every county, every nation on Earth? Then why would God in His endless mercy condemn all of us? See, the issue at hand is not whether there is a deep state. The issue at hand is whether we have the deep heart to keep the faith. Our daily practices of prayer, charity, and compassion allow for a deep heart to grow closer to Jesus. Our salvation is accomplished by the Cross of Christ and the reception of the Blessed Sacrament.
Our "obligation" has been suspended in most diocese around the United States due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. So there is cause for concern that we might be facing the end times as it appears we are barred from going to Mass. But the reasonable response to this concern is found in remote places of faith all over the globe where Mass with a priest and the reception of communion only happens once or twice a year!
So brothers and sisters, if you're hoarding bottled water and food, why? We aren't told to hoard; we are told to be prepared. We have nothing to fear if we are going about doing God's work. No terror can shake us from the kingdom work we have in front of us. There are real societal things we need to address and remedy, like severe income inequality, medical poverty, starvation, homelessness, and lack of love for thy neighbor. In addition, we also have to tenderly deal with the great paradox of the Abortion issue from both our Christian Pro-life for the whole life viewpoint and the Equal Rights provisions of our U.S. Consitution. (more on that if we feel it needs further explaination- comment Roe V. Wade in the comments section if this paradox needs further explanation.)
If we are focused on those things, the other issues that might cause us to pause for a second and say, "Is Christ coming today for the final judgment?" The answer is always YES, but we are His presence in the world, so stop freaking out about there being three dark days and get busy. As Amanda Gorman so beautifully spoke in her poem, "The Hill We Climb."
"For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it."
Make no mistake; we are the children of the light.
PS. if you need a hip-hop jam to remind you of that light, This is a favorite of mine@