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Life in Christ is a wonderful adventure.  He alone can give full meaning to life, he alone is the center of history.  Live by him!

St. John Paul, II

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These are the words St. John Paul II spoke in 1997 at a Mass for youth in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic.

St. John Paul knew that life and history bring us personal and political hardship.

He was orphaned when his mother, brother and father died before he was 20 years of age.

He saw his beloved Poland occupied by the Nazis and then shamefully handed to the Communist Russia by the West after World War II.

He had to attend an “underground” seminary.

He risked his life to sustain the Catholic faith of others during the Nazi occupation and did the same under Communist occupation – smuggling seminarians into Poland when their native counties, occupied by the Communists, prohibited the ordination of Catholic clergy.

Christ alone is the center of history.

It is now our turn.  Those who are Believers face our time to witness.

Christianity is under attack – in the world, in the Middle East, in Europe and here in the United States.  Godless people dismiss the importance of faith, others have antipathy for religion, for Christ and for Christians and for our country and its heritage.  We find each in positions of public leadership – from politics, to media, entertainment, public and higher education, and corporate life.

Like St. John Paul II and Christians in Poland and others throughout history, we must demonstrate overtly what a Christian life is – who God in Christ is, how purposefully a person lives once a relationship with Christ is engaged and established.

Difficult things come to us personally and collectively so God might see His creation perfected.  Such opportunities are blessings.  We are living in such a time – a time of challenge, of opportunity and of blessings.

If we love God, if we are Christians – would we not join together to respond, to teach others who Christ is and what the love of God for all looks like?  Is it not unimaginable that we would do nothing less?

Brothers and Sisters, time for us to witness Christ – He who will never be diminished. We have been silent too long.  Live has been easy for a while – our faith left to prosper – but that has changed.  Now it is our moment.  It is a sacred time.

True holiness does not mean a flight from the world; rather … the effort to incarnate the Gospel in everyday life, in the family, at school … at work … in social and political life.

St. John Paul, II 

We are many and God is invincible!

Shalom.

If this message appeals to you, please share it with others.

Let no one deceive you in any way.

2 Thes 2:3

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It is hard not to notice the many ways in which faith, and in particular, Christ is denied in present day American culture.

I am most struck by the proposition that is often uttered, especially by the modestly educated from our once-prestigious universities and (of course) by the most political among us, that “religion is to be excluded from our discourse and public and private life.”

What these people are saying is, in essence, this: we are too good, too advanced to need religion, more in-the-know, smarter – and far more intelligent than to follow any supernatural nonsense like religion.

Let’s face facts – we live in an age of apostasy.  Yes, we live in an age where others (the Leftists, modern liberalism, secularists, the modestly-educated class, and the government, judiciary included) try to coax or force Believers to give up their faith – and as for Christians: deny Christ.

The Second Letter to the Thessalonians (among other portions of the Old and New Testament) address our circumstance and is useful in providing fair warning to each of us in these days.  (2 Thes 2: 3-17)

In a Chapter entitled “Christ and the Lawless One” we learn that it is through apostasy that the lawless one is revealed to us.  And that the one who is lawless is doomed to perdition as he exalts himself above all others and all else so to claim his status as “a god.”

Does this not provide a fascinating proposition?

We learn in this chapter that the “mystery of lawlessness is already at work.”  Yet, that this lawless one will be killed by “the breath” of the Lord and rendered “powerless by the manifestation” of the Lord’s coming.  Yes, the lawless one and in the advert of apostasy, are the herald of the Lord’s coming – a each a necessary element of Christ’s return.

In the presence of apostasy and the Lawless One – those who adopted “the lie” and “not believed the truth” face condemnation.

In these times – and in the present day, it is the sacred task of Believers to stand “as the first fruits of salvation,” to witness in the face of challenges “the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Thus we are instructed to “stand firm and hold fast to the tradition you were taught … 

Thus is our call today.

Shalom.

Addendum – After reading this chapter last night, I prepared to retire and the thought came to me that I might want to turn on the radio.  When I did: I heard a discussion of the second chapter of Thessalonians – yes, a discussion of “Christ and the Lawless One.” What are the chances of that happening?  What do you make of it?

For an excellent read on faith and apostasy, I highly recommend Japanese novelist Shusaku Endo’s Silence which depicts the plight of Catholic missionaries in 16th century Japan.

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