Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As the Church’s liturgical year draws to a close in these next few weeks, our Scripture readings turn, as you know, to reminders of persecution, death, and our eternal end. During the next two weeks, the weekday Mass readings are mainly drawn from Maccabees and from the Prophet Daniel, apocalyptic readings, not in the sense of gloom and doom, but in that they focus our attention on the salvific plan of God that unfolds in a world that often appears dark. In the midst of this darkness, the Scriptures we read call us to place our confidence in the God whose word endures.
Reflecting on the historical trials of Israel – the Maccabees came to prominence at a time of radical persecution of the Jewish people, and Daniel’s prophecies were given during the time of the Babylonian captivity – we can see that the trials and challenges of the present age, while different in their specific details, are not so different in their spirit. Now as in the ages that have preceded us, those who believe in God and seek to live according to the divine law often find themselves opposed by worldly powers. In this opposition, they will often find a sense of confusion and chaos. How ought one live amid a hostile climate? How make sense of the contradictions of the world? How keep the faith when it appears not only the world, but the leaders in faith have lost theirs? To all this, the Scriptures respond with a resounding affirmation of the supremacy and power of God over all things. Alongside this, our Gospel this weekend tells us to pay attention to the signs of the times. That is, be aware of what is happening around you and know that, in every age no matter the circumstances, God is near and accompanies His people.
If in the ancient world the instinct in times of difficulty was to cry out to God for help, in our own day and culture, our instinct seems to be to look to government or hierarchy for signs of life and hope. Unfortunately, when we look to what is not God for that which only God can provide (healing, salvation, ultimate peace), we find ourselves frustrated; upset that this or that decision has been made, upset that this or that policy has been questioned or changed, upset that the confidence we placed in Person A, B, or C has proven undeserved or unfulfilled. Our Scripture readings in these days are a call not to run from the world or the authorities of the world, but rather to recognize them all as subordinate to God. Seeing our times and our daily challenges clearly, we are called again and again to place our confidence in the providence of the God who desires to bring us to salvation.
Seeing our times clearly while simultaneously keeping our gaze fixed on the loving Heart of Jesus is not always easy. Fortunately, we have lights along the way to assist us. These are the sacraments of the Church, the life of prayer to which we are all invited, and the community of believers who walk with us in faith. We are blessed to have the example of past generations and saints, as well as living voices that help to echo these truths for us. St. Joseph is one such example. The Year of St. Joseph proclaimed by Pope Francis is drawing to a close. In this great figure, we see an example of a man whose feet were firmly planted, who recognized the signs of the times, and never wavered in his commitment. In St. Joseph, we can see more than an unattainable ideal; rather, we see in him a man of communion, in touch with the world, his family, and his God. Next Saturday, November 20, to help bring the year of St. Joseph to a close and to help us live in the communion that God desires for us, Dr. Greg Bottaro will be the speaker at a Communion Breakfast hosted by the St. Pius X Men’s fellowship and our Knights of Columbus Council 16347. I invite you to come and reflect on how our communion with one another draws us into a more profound communion with God. Reserve your spot at bit.ly/spxbreakfast. Continuing the echo of the truth that we are called to keep our trust in Jesus in the midst of a challenging world, we will be joined during Thanksgiving week by Fr. Louis Merosne for a three-night mission. Fr. Louis is a priest in the Diocese of Anse-à-Veau and Miragoâne in Haiti. In his talks, he will guide us in a reflection on God’s profound desire for union with His people, our response to this love, and how this fact leads us to a deeper desire for communion with God. In this deeper desire for communion with the living God, we find ourselves both moved to deep gratitude for every gift received and inspired to serve our brothers and sisters in need. The mission will take place Nov. 22 – 24, starting at 7 PM each evening.