November 13, 2022
The Liturgy at this time of the year turns us to prophecy, to what is coming, to the Last Things. What is the mysterious message St. Paul gives to the Thessalonians?
- The deceptive son of perdition.
- What is restraining him?
- Proclaiming himself to be God.
- The Victory of the Lord.
- Encouragement and hope.
This is a computer-generated transcription that has been included to make the homily searchable. It has not been verified by the author.
“While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, ‘all that you see here, the days will come, when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.’ They asked him, ‘Teacher, when will this happen, and what sign will there be, when all these things are about to happen?’” We’re almost at the end of the liturgical year, the liturgical year, it’s next Sunday with the feast of Christ, the King. And this end has special grace’s, which I think for our little Mission, but also for the Church today are very important, because it’s helping us to look to what is to come, to what is coming to the last things. And the all the readings today, there’s a strong sense of prophecy, here in the gospel that we’re reading, and, and from the first reading from the prophet Malachi, And the Psalm, speaking to us have this sense of God alerting us to what is coming. And so, he wants us to be alert, because it’s very clear in the gospel, that alert to the power of evil, that is present. And so that we be prepared for what is coming, that we’d not be caught, unawares, but that we’d be prepared. But above all these passages, through these passages, He wants to strengthen our hope, to intensify our hope. And so, I mentioned the gospel, I meant in the first reading, I meant in the second reading, I mentioned the Psalm. But the second reading was from the book of Thessalonians, St. Paul’s second letter to Thessalonians. We’ve been reading that this past couple of weeks. But there’s a passage that we skipped over, in the reading that’s not in the reading selection. And maybe that was done because it was deemed too obscure, too mysterious. But I think it’s often good to look at those passages, which are obscure and mysterious, because one thing is they help us to realize that there’s so much in scripture that we don’t understand yet. And so, I want to look at that passage that was skipped over. So, a couple of weeks ago, we had the passage from Thessalonians, where St. Paul says, “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and are assembling to meet Him, I urge you not to be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to come from us to the effect that the day of the Lord has already come.” And so that’s where the selection ended. So, he says, be careful, don’t be excited by it, by false messages, that the day of the Lord has already come. But it’s important to see what follows that. He says, “Let no one deceive you in any way.” So he’s alerting us to the importance of deception. For that, they will not come unless, for that day will not come unless – unless what, what is unless, something has to happen first. And what is that thing? So, St. Paul goes on to say, “the rebellion, where the apostasy comes first.” So, the rebellion or the apostasy comes first. So, this terrible, massive, falling away from God, and this confusion at that causes, and I think we’re seeing so much of that already today, a rejection of God, and all darkness and suffering that comes from that. But then he goes on, he goes on to give more information, he says, “and the man of lawlessness is revealed, I’ll say, first of all, also the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition.” And so, this is a man of extreme evil. And a lot identify this with what St. John calls the Antichrist. And St. Paul says, “the Son of Perdition who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called God or object of worship, so that he takes a seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.” A man who’s exalted and glorified himself, and making, proclaiming himself to be God. And even it says, to take a seat in the temple of God. And what is the temple of God? Scripture speaks to the temple of God as the Church, as the temple of God. So, who is this man who proclaimed himself to be God and takes the place of God? So, St. Paul says that he has to come first, the apostasy, and this man of perdition. And then, and this is the part that’s been very especially mysterious, and there’s been a lot of discussion about this next passage of the St. Paul gives, because St. Paul says, “and you know, what is restraining him now.” So, he says, St. Paul says, You know what? So, it seemed like St. Paul has already talked to them about this, but he doesn’t say what it is. So apparently, it sounds like they were aware of what he was talking about, but we don’t know exactly what that was. He says, you know, what is restraining him now, so that he the son of perdition, the man of lawlessness, so that he may be revealed in his time. So, something is restraining this man of lawlessness, until the time he will be revealed. And then he says, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” So, it’s already this, the spirit of lawlessness, of evils already at work. And of course, we see a lot of it in our world today. “Only he who now restrains it,” so again, he’s referencing now, not just something but someone who is restraining it, “only he who now restrains it, it will do so until he is out of the way.” So, there’s someone who is restraining this evil one, until a certain point when he is out of the way. So, there’s been a lot of different hypotheses about what this thing or what this person is. And there’s passages in Scripture, especially these mysterious symbolic prophetic passages which can have different levels of meaning. Jesus says in the Gospel of St. Matthew, – so I want to focus on one, one possible interpretation or meaning of this, Jesus says in the Gospel, “When therefore you see the abomination of desolation,” the abomination of desolation, some have translated this, the desolating sacrilege, “when you see the abomination of desolation,” or the desolate in sacrilege, “which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place,” and then it adds, “he that readeth, let him understand.” And so, it might be referring in part to this passage from Daniel, where the prophet Daniel says, “They shall defile the sanctuary.” And again, the sanctuary is not just the physical temple. But the sanctuary is perhaps a prefiguration of the Church – that often is in the temple as a prefiguration of the Church. And so is this speaking of them, defiling the Church, “and shall take away the continual sacrifice,” shall take away the continual sacrifice, “and they shall place there the abomination of desolation.” So, in the temple instead of the continuous sacrifice, they have placed the abomination of desolation, and as such, they are wickedly and those who do wicked the against the covenant shall deceitfully assemble. So, this is one of the tactics that the evil one is, a lot of deception. But Daniel says, “but the people that know their God shall prevail and succeed.” Those that know God shall prevail eventually and succeed. So, what is this continual sacrifice that Daniel is talking about? That Daniel was prophesied? What is this continual sacrifice, this perpetual sacrifice? And many of the Fathers of the Church have seen that as a reference to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which renews the sacrifice of Jesus, which makes present the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary, makes it present here for us. And those of you who come here often know that we’ve often spoken of because I think it’s something that is so attacked and forgotten today, the fact that the Mass makes present the sacrifice of Jesus. So that to pour out, to continue to pour out the graces that come from Him, think of that prayer, we say, with the Divine Mercy Chaplet, “Eternal Father, we offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins, and those of the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world.” And so, with this sacrifice, we are offering the sacrifice, we are in the Mass, we are offering Jesus to the Father, to draw down graces, and mercy on our world. And there’s been so many attacks against the Eucharist, in our day, to disfigure and to hide, to confuse the sense of the Mass, so that many people don’t, I mean most Catholics, like I know in our country, don’t realize that the Mass is the sacrifice of Jesus made present. So that’s a huge crisis. And so, it’s a way of taking away, it’s a beginning of taking away the sacrifice, destroying the faith, and the sacrifice. And at some places, even then there’s many countries, where the Mass is not allowed to be celebrated. But even in countries where it is allowed, the faith in it has been destroyed. And so, as I say, there’s much in these words that remain mysterious and will remain mysterious, until the time that the Lord designed. But this is perhaps, at least in part, a reference to attacks against the Sacrifice of the Mass. It was Padre Pio, St. Padre Pio, who said that “the world could more easily exist without the sun, than without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.” And so, this is talking about the attacks of the evil one. And then St. Paul goes on to say, “and then the lawless one will be revealed.” So, the one who was restraining him then, when that person or that is taken away, then the lawless one, the son of perdition, the Antichrist is revealed. The coming of the lawless one, by the activity of satan, will be with all power, and with pretended signs and wonders. So, satan himself will be acting through the son of perdition. And so, his manifestation will be very powerful, and they’ll even seem to be miracles, signs and wonders, St. Paul says pretended signs and wonders. And so we have to be careful, because even there can be things which seem to be miracles, that aren’t true miracles, but are deceit of the evil one. And St. Paul continues, “and with all wicked deception,” so that’s an alert that he comes back to over and over that Scripture does, the deceptions of the evil one. Satan is very, very subtle, and sneaky, and treacherous and so we have to be aware that if we’re not careful, we can easily be deceived. “With all wicked deception, for those who are to perish.” So why have they been? Why are they perishing? And he says, “because they refused to love the truth, and so be saved.” So, God offers the truth. But it says that there are those who refuse the truth that could save them. And because they refuse the truth, they are deceived, and perish. Therefore, God sends upon them, God permits a strong delusion. “To make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned, who did not believe the truth, but a pleasure and unrighteousness.” So those who reject the truth and choose rather unrighteousness will be prey to these deceptions, which will lead them to condemnation. So, St. Paul is alerting us to the activity of satan, and his agent, the son of perdition, the anti-christ, but then he speaks of the victory of the Lord. And he says, “The Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth.” So, the Lord’s power is so great that all he has to do is say, to breathe, to destroy all this power of the evil one, and destroy him by His appearing and His coming. The manifestation, the appearance and coming of the Lord is so powerful, that it destroys all this deception and evil. And St. Paul, a little bit before this, a little bit earlier, in the first chapter of Thessalonians, who says, “the speaker of the judgment of Christ coming, “this is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be made worthy of the kingdom of God for which you are suffering.” So that the suffering of the Christians right now is for the kingdom of God. “Since indeed, God deemed the just to repay with the affliction, those who afflict you, and to grant rest with us, to you who are afflicted, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven.” So this, but this manifestation of the Lord will bring about justice, punishment for some, and rest for others. “When the Lord Jesus has revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, and inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God, and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So that’s not those who for no fault of their own, do not know God, but that’s those who have willfully rejected the truth, and the gospel of Jesus. “They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, and exclusion from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His mind, when He comes on that day, to be glorified, and His saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.” In the first reading we had today is another vision of that, “Low the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be reduced to stubble and the day is coming, will set them on fire, leaving neither root nor branch says the Lord of hosts.” That is, they will be completely destroyed, completely wiped out. “But for you who fear My name,” so this is not like a say a bomb, a bomb, which destroys, often both evil and good people at the same time, the bomb doesn’t make any distinction. This is this Judgment, the LORD destroys the evil one, the evil ones, “but for you who fear my name, there will arise the son of justice with its healing race.” And so again, these prophetic messages, awaken us to the mystery that is happening, that is already in process, right now, like behind the headlines of the news, making us alert to the deceptions of the evil one, helping us to be prepared for the trials. But above all, giving us hope, and the victory and the justice of the Lord. And also, to help us strengthen our faith in the Holy Eucharist, in the perpetual sacrifice that we still have the freedom to offer. And so, with our Blessed Mother, we gathered today to offer for our world this perpetual sacrifice of Jesus. And I’ll just end by reading another passage words from the same letter of St. Paul the Thessalonians of encouragement, and consolation. He says, “we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brothers, and sisters, be loved by God, because He chose you from the beginning to be saved through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this He called you through our Gospel so that you may attain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So, then brethren, stand firm, and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us.” So, the importance of holding to the traditions that are the traditions that St Paul has handed on, “The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and guard you from evil.” So, St. Paul is announcing these trials, but saying, Hold on to the Lord. He will strengthen you and bring you through this. Jesus, we trust in you. Amen
KEYWORDS / PHRASES:
2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
son of perdition