In our second reading at Sunday Mass, we hear St. Peter exhorting us to wait for the coming of the day of God. The Day of the Lord will conclude human history, and the Lord Jesus will bring about complete and perfect justice. [Spanish]
St. Peter tells us we can hasten the coming of the eternal day. How? By our eagerness for holiness and peace.
What puts us sinners at peace with God? Baptism into Christ. On the cross, the Lord Jesus made peace between God and man. The Lord offered His infinite divine holiness as a sacrifice on behalf of the human race, as one of us. That holy sacrifice makes the eternal peace, the peace that will unfold fully on the Day of God.
Baptism unites us with that peace. Holy Baptism makes the peace won by Christ’s sacrifice our own peace.
Now you might say, “Father, hold on. I love the idea of inner peace. But I have anxieties. Grave ones. Not only do I not really understand when we will get our ‘normal’ life back; not only am I seriously concerned about what new name they will give to the Washington Redskins. But the whole world seems, like, broken.”
Ok. Well said. Baptism gives us Christ’s peace and makes us ready for the Final Judgment. Baptism is the sacrament of… faith. Faith. Baptism is not the sacrament of unrealistically thinking that life on earth is a picnic. Baptism is the sacrament of believing in the holy triune God, Who transcends this world in every way.
And baptism is the sacrament of the faith of the Church. To hasten Judgment Day, we all need to recognize: We do not have faith in our Savior Jesus as autonomous individuals. We have faith in Christ by having the faith of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Jesus.
If it were just me and God, I would be terrified of Judgment Day. Under those circumstances, I would be condemned, as I rightly deserve. But I can eagerly try to hasten Judgment Day because I hope to stand before the divine tribunal not alone, but with the Lord Jesus, His Mother, St. Joseph, the Apostles, the martyrs, all the saints. I hope to greet Judgment Day filled with the heavenly grace that Christ has communicated to His Church. I just need to stay current on the sacramental confessions of my sins.
“But, Father! There you go again, extolling the decisive importance of communion with the Catholic Church. You who have been tossed to the curb by that Church! Your kind friends think you should call the local Episcopalian bishop. The Catholic institution has pushed conscientious people to their limit. Practicing Catholics have no solid arguments to make with the lapsed Catholics who won’t associate themselves anymore with the mafia of sex-abuse cover-uppers.”
Again, amen. Well said. Thankfully, at least for now, the virus pushes the final turning-point into the future, for us troubled Catholics. No one has an obligation to go to Mass now anyway. The people who feel safe going to Mass and the people who—for whatever reason—don’t feel safe: we’re all still in this together. We can do what St. Peter said, and wait. Wait on God, trusting that He knows best.
My life certainly makes less sense to me with each passing day. But having your life make sense is over-rated. The Almighty never promised that our lives would make sense all the time. The good plan of God does indeed make sense; it makes sense to the saints and to the angels. It’s just that we miscreants bobbing and weaving here on the surface of the earth do not have the insight necessary to grasp it all yet.
Christ Himself is our peace. The Virgin bore Him as the Holy Child. The holiness of Christ—what is it exactly? His consecration to the will of the Father. His total submission to the loving kindness of God. God will show us the way. One thing we know for sure: the way involves not doing unkind things, and doing all the kind things we can.
4 thoughts on “Holy Baptism and Hastening Judgment Day”
When was the obligation suspended, and by whom?
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Good question, Joe. When public Masses resumed in May, Bishop Knestout announced that there was no oblgation to attend (https://richmonddiocese.org/celebration-of-public-masses-to-resume-in-catholic-diocese-of-richmond/). That was re-iterated in the November return-to-Mass guidelines published by the diocese (https://richmonddiocese.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Return-to-Mass-Guidelines-Nov.-16-2020-UPDATE-FINAL.pdf).
Powerful message. I salute your faith and dedication.
I was raised Catholic, attended Catholic schools for 14 years, and tried to become a practicing Catholic. I just never truly felt connectivity to the church. The hypocrisy you elude two in dealing with the current scandals presented to me early in my adult life and solidified a feeling that the church had lost contact with their followers. I remember visiting the Vatican and instead of being proud of my faith, I was disgusted with the opulent lifestyles I witnessed. Limo after Limo carrying Vatican officials, all the while I remembered being asked to give up my lunch money to put a roof on the school or fix the church heater.
My divorce completed my estrangement, but I still help hoped that the old team would be successful until all these horrible revelations became public. Now I watch your tribulations and the old feelings of disgust return. My personal belief is that the system is too far corrupted to be fixed, and it may be time for another reformation to occur.
I pray you find peace, a solution, and clarity on your path forward.
Fr. Mark, please be assured of prayers for you. And be assured that you are on the right path, as arduous as it is. Your courage encourages others! And you are not alone, as you well know.
There are a lot of times when life makes zero sense and seems to be a cruel joke. A friend once told me years ago, after I told her I wished I had never experienced the excruciatingly difficult ordeals in my life brought about by the cruelty of others, that I wouldn’t be the better person I am now if I hadn’t gone through those horrible situations. I’ve kept that in mind in the midst of the continuation of the “vales of tears” and “valleys of the shadow of death” situations I’ve continued to experience due to a lifetime of abuse from male siblings, one of which is a religious con man.
If Jesus walked this earth today, his “unkind” excoriation against religious frauds that is recorded in Scripture would be met with the same whitewashing judgmental condemnation that you and other courageous people who speak the truth have experienced. You’re in good company, so don’t waver and don’t apologize for righteous anger. Abusers always use manipulative accusations to try to make their victims feel guilty. Don’t buy into it. The raping and slaughtering of souls needs to be confronted with “unkind” truthful words — the same “unkind” truthful words Jesus used against the religious soul rapists and soul slaughterers in his day.
Keep speaking truth in your service to Christ and to us, your sheep. Let’s all continue to trust God in each moment and reject the lies from satan.
Passion of Christ, strengthen us. Join our sufferings to Yours and make them all redemptive.