Ocean Avenue by phyzer
First published March 20th, 2015. The liturgical texts for the referenced readings that day are here.
THERE is a new sign of the times emerging. Like a wave reaching the shore that grows and grows until it becomes a huge tsunami, so too, there is a growing mob mentality toward the Church and freedom of speech. It was ten years ago that I wrote a warning of the coming persecution.  And now it’s here, on Western shores.
For the zeitgeist has shifted; there is a growing boldness and intolerance sweeping through the courts, flooding the media, and spilling out onto the streets. Yes, the time is right to silence the Church. These sentiments have existed for some time now, decades even. But what is new is that they have gained the power of the mob, and when it reaches this stage, the anger and intolerance begin to move very fast.
Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training. He professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child of the LORD. To us he is the censure of our thoughts; merely to see him is a hardship for us, because his life is not like that of others, and different are his ways. (First reading)
Jesus said if the world hated Him, then it will hate us.  Why? Because Jesus is the “light of the world”,  but then He also says of us: “You are the light of the world”.  That light is both our witness and the truth we proclaim. And…
…this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. (John 3:19)
You see, we carry no ordinary light. The light of the Christian is really the very presence of God within, a presence that pierces the heart, enlightens the conscience,  and calls others to the right path. As Pope Benedict said:
The Church… intends to continue to raise her voice in defense of mankind, even when policies of States and the majority of public opinion moves in the opposite direction. Truth, indeed, draws strength from itself and not from the amount of consent it arouses. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Vatican, March 20, 2006
The strength of truth is that its source is Christ Himself.  And thus, Jesus says to the people who tried to pretend that He was not the Messiah, tried to pretend that they did not recognize the truth:
You know me and also know where I am from. (Today’s Gospel)
Therefore, it is ultimately Jesus-in-us whom they persecute:
He judges us debased; he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure. He calls blest the destiny of the just and boasts that God is his Father. (First reading)
Brothers and sisters, long have been the warnings to prepare for the hour that is now upon the Church, the hour of her “final confrontation” with the spirit of this age. The mobs have lit their torches and raised their pitchforks… but Jesus tells you to raise your eyes.
…when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand. (Luke 21:28)
He will be our help, He will be our hope, and He will be our deliverer. What groom wouldn’t be for his bride?
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them… Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the LORD delivers him. (Today’s Psalm)
A word from 2009: Persecution is Near
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