Ezekiel 33:7-9; Ps 95:1-2, 6-9; Romans 13:8-10; Matthew 18:15-20
God created from nothing all that exists. He created our earth and the beautiful garden in Eden. God created the first humans, Adam and Eve, and had a daily love relationship with them (Gen 3:8). The fallen angels hated that plan of God. Lucifer, leader of the fallen angels, took the form of a snake and caused Adam and Even to break their relationship with God. From that point evil among humans continued to spread.
Yet God continued to call us back into a loving relationship with himself. He also wants us to love others as he loves us. If we don’t know that and accept that personal relationship, we get drawn off into all kinds of evil things the fallen angels present to us so we shall be with them in eternal suffering. They hate us, as Tolkien said in Lord of the Rings. We are in the most stressful part of that war between good and evil. If we don’t turn back to God and use his spiritual power we shall be in very deep dodo. I feel like Gandalf calling and encouraging people to fight on against the darkness. Only with Jesus do we win the fight.
The first reading speaks of Ezekiel trying to call the Jewish people back to God. They did not want to listen. Psalm 95 tells us to listen for the voice of God and not harden our hearts to him.
St. Paul’s section today is about real love for our neighbor, not adultery, killing, stealing and coveting our neighbor’s goods. Later in chapter 13:4-8 St. Paul gives 16 characteristics of love. One of my college English teachers put them in the positive words. He taught that Paul said: Love is:
- Respectful of others
- Ready to make allowances
- Ready to trust
- Lasts forever
These are very challenging. Much in our culture sees love as sexual abuse of others and loving only ourselves. That won’t advance human growth.
In the Gospel section of St. Matthew today, Jesus gives directives of how to deal with sin, faults and failings within the Christian community. That needs study and practice. The real question is, what are we supposed to do with the countless people around us each day and in the world that don’t hold our beliefs and values? Some want to destroy us if we don’t join their ranks. We have dealt with the struggle between good and evil for all of human history. Morally we don’t have to let violence destroy who we are and “all” we have. In our country we have a multiplicity of beliefs. How can we hold some core beliefs and not destroy each other? The 10 Commandments were part of our founding principles.
Today the world is facing the greatest threat from radical Islam since the Middle Ages. Some radical, and I call them dark-side people, have hijacked the core beliefs of Islam. I heard the past president of Iran, speak at the UN several years ago. He said that he believed he was to usher in the last Imam. He had to prepare the world for that by peace or war. Then all of Christianity would be turned over to that new leader. Indeed! When we went into Afghanistan we found 100 radical Moslem schools where boys from 5 to 11 were taught only the radical part of the Koran, to convert or wipe out all non-Moslems. Now we see the result of that “brain washing” with more than 1,000 of that ideology and more.
What do we do? St. Paul said to the Ephesians in 1:3:
Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has bestowed on us in Christ every spiritual blessing in the heavens.
What we have been given are spiritual weapons to beg God’s warrior angels to convert this darkness and protect us. We need to turn back to God and beg him with much prayer and fasting for his help. Lord, we need many miracles here.
As we daily turn closer to Jesus in prayer, we might also want to prepare our homes for the event of any natural or man-made disaster. If we lose electrical power for a period of time, we need to have on hand blessed candles and alternate source of temporary power. We need at least a week or more of food that does not need to be cooked, and will last for a while, stored in a proper place. We need some medical supplies and warm clothes and blankets. Also, each adult needs about ½ gallon of liquid a day for hydration, water and canned juices and the ability to purify water, plus water for medicinal purposes. Listen to the Lord as you prepare.
Peace and all good.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2014 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)