There are two tracks in Christianity. We as Catholics and many other Christians follow one track. This has its roots not only in the teachings of Jesus but also in natural law which comes to us from the Greeks. Natural law teaches that there is an order to the universe. All of nature follows this order and this is how God created it. Therefore, the more we seek Christ, the more we will follow the natural order as well.
The other track coming to us is William of Orange after the Protestant Revolution. It teaches that since God is God, he can do anything he wants. This means he can follow the natural order or not. He is after all the all-powerful one. This is common in many Christian movements and gave rise to many atheist movements.
Aristotle vs William of Orange
Robert Reilly who teaches this history tells us this also reveals that the Catholic principles brought forth the American Revolution and the principles coming after Martin Luther brought forth the French Revolution.
I teach this to help us understand today’s Gospel reading. Today, many people are looking for signs that Jesus is coming back soon. Signs they seek range from whether or not a preserved host is bleeding to blood moons.
Jesus himself tells us what are the signs the world is coming to an end and His return is imminent. We can understand these signs once we look at them through natural law.
What are the signs: He talks about people claiming to be the Messiah, famines and earthquakes and nations rising against nations. However, many people miss that he says that before all this there will be a great persecution.
So going by what is the first sign of the end of the world—a great persecution.
I would maintain that there have been lots of these happening on a regional level and so the end of the world will be when this happens on a worldly level.
This is from the Gospel of Luke which was written toward the end of the First Century. Many people claim around 80 A.D. this means Luke wrote it after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple which is described by Jesus in the Gospel.
There has been great persecution of the early Church and that persecution continues for several centuries. Luke is helping everyone understand what all this means. However, it is regional.
Over the past two thousand years as knowledge of the Gospel has grown we have gone through periods of various forms of persecution and these precede great change. This would make sense because again there is a natural order to the universe. If we see that order within the context of our understanding of God, there will be greater periods of peace. If we reject Jesus’ teachings then there is no coherent center and everything will fall.
A common or divided anthropology
Jesus teaches us an anthropology, when we reject Christ then we do not have an ordered anthropology and this creates division and revolution.
What is the war in Europe all about? First, it is about money because all wars are about money. What is the rallying cry? Morality. The Russians see themselves as guardians of Christian morality. They are fighting the Ukrainians and the west which they claim are in decay because they reject Christian morality. Whether you agree with them or not what is the war about? Two different understandings of what it means to be a human and on what is the foundation of human society. No scripture authorizes Christians to war to protect morality.
Nation will rise against nation for there is no unity between nations. Each nation will fight for its own vision and success and that is always the recipe for destruction.
This brings us back to the words of Jesus. Fr. Jose Fortea who is a world renowned exorcist from Spain explains that there is nothing complicated about the teachings of Jesus. Everything you need to know is all written and revealed to us. I like to cite him when people start going into a panic from some bad teaching of celebrity preachers and I am referring to the Catholic ones.
People right now are looking in the skies for the signs of the beginning of the end. If we follow the ways set out by William of Orange in the 16th Century, we can turn anything into a sign. It can be the blood moons, the bleeding or non-bleeding host, the election, et cetera. However, Jesus lays it out right here. First, there is a persecution of the Church. What follows is people start to create their own anthropology which causes great division. Currently, the anthropology of Russians and that of the West are at odds with each other.
If you look carefully in the Bible, God intervenes when people stray so far that great destruction will happen or is happening and the only way to lessen the destruction is for God to intervene. Look at it this way. This is exactly how Sodom and Gomorrah happened. The surrounding communities complain that Sodom and Gomorrah’s evil is spreading to their communities. God discovers it is so bad with no righteous people he must intervene. For the record, if you look carefully, the environment there turned into a total anarchy when the people turned on each other.
The sign to watch for which is already here is what Jesus lays out for us today, is a rejection of the Church and the word of God, which leads to a breakdown of anthropologies and eventually division so strong it inspires nations to rise against nations. What can we do, be faithful to Christ and not be part of it.
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