Doomsday Preppers? Homily
Nov 15, 2017
We do not want you to be unaware about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with Him those who have fallen asleep.
The other day on my Facebook feed, a friend left a sad post. She was drawing negative attention to Paul Ryan who in the after math of the Sutherland Springs Shooting, was calling for prayers. With many others, she referred to him as an idiot saying: what do you think those people were doing at the time…and in Church no less…a lot good prayer got them.
My first instinct was to fire off a few how dare you comments, but after distancing my fingers from the keyboard…I realized that what she posted actually posed a legitamite question. How does one in fact reconcile a group of parishioners gathered together as a family to give glory to God only to have this horrific tragedy happen…leaving anyone to wonder about how effective prayer really is.
In response to what appears to be our country, our culture and our entire world going to Hell in a hand basket especially given events that occurred because of 9/11, there has been a surge of interest in what is called the Doomsday Prepper movement:
That's because they are all preparing for doomsday, whether it's caused by a natural disaster, a financial collapse or a nuclear winter, and their plan is to outlast and outlive any apocalyptic scenario. The series introduces otherwise ordinary folks who are stockpiling food, water, weapons and whatever else they think is necessary in the event basic services should falter and society turns chaotic and violent
Now as extreme as these movements may appear to most, there is a wisdom in place that should remind us, as today’s Gospel does loud and clear, as Christian’s we are Apocalypse Preppers…not just in terms of preparing for the end of civilization or even the end of our own personal lives. We are a people who in recognizing the reality of evil and death are preparing for something beyond any description of beauty and wonder.
What Saint John in his vision in Revelation describes in this way:
I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away.* I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,* coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.b 3
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.c He will dwell with them and they will be his people* and God himself will always be with them.* 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away.”d
5The one who sat on the throne* said, “Behold, I make all things new.”
This weekend we celebrate Veteran’s day…and any soldier will tell you there is nothing more important than being properly trained and prepared for battle…without that preparation in place, battles get lost and worse, so do people’s lives.
In this life, there are greater threats than an invading army or even an mass extinction event like an asteroid hitting the earth, and that is the devil and all his minions who seek more than to just ruin lives…they want to ruin any hopes we have of being saved and going to Heaven.
In his letter to the Ephesians Saint Paul sums up the nature of the real conflict we are engaged in:
Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. 11Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.g 12For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits.h 13Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.i 14
So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate,j 15and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.k 16In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all [the] flaming arrows of the evil one.l 17And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.m With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit.
We are at war with Hell and that few people, especially Christians realize this is why so much of the world seems to be burning to the ground. We have an arsenal of weapons at our disposal that seem to just be gathering spiritual dust. Sadly, the people who complain the most are the ones who do the least. As I heard someone mention the other day about recent poll results…if you don’t vote…don’t complain.
One of the most frightening and implicating proofs of how powerful prayer is and how just as powerful the failure to do it occurred at Fatima. Referred to as the Fatima Failure. The Blessed Virgin Mary pleaded with the world to pray every day, renew their relationship with Christ, if not a worse world war would break out…and that is exactly what happened.
As Christians, we must bear the brunt of responsibility of what is wrong with this world. Will a world wide increase in prayer eliminate all and every evil? No, but there is truly strength in numbers.
The more dedicated and determined Christian soldiers there are more and more will Satan and his armies endure the sting of humiliating defeat. When there is a massive amount of soldiers who go AWOL, vacating the battlefield, that battle, that land is lost. The results are no different with so few people filling the pews, fewer prayers said, there is less protection…like a body’s immune system that shuts down because of starvation.
In today’s Psalm we hear: Thus have I gazed on you in the sanctuary to see your power and glory. When we look to this sanctuary we see prominently the Cross of Christ and soon from that sacred altar the elevation of the Sacred Host and Chalice…the Holy Eucharist. There is the power and glory of Jesus Christ. From His weakness upon the Cross He gives to us the strength of the Eucharist, that we may be filled with God’s glory…filled like those oiled lamps.
In today’s Gospel those who have their lamps trimmed are the ones who have a full amount of oil. That fullness is one’s life of putting prayer into action. We are never more filled with the light, love, power and strength of God than when receiving Holy Communion. Jesus says:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. 54Whoever eats* my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
The Bridegroom is met at night with lighted lamps. So we go forth confidently and courageously into the darkness of this world approaching the inevitable darkness of our own dying and death…but we do so filled with that presence and power of Christ…our prayerfulness keeping the light of our faith lit, ignited like an inferno to help light the way for others who are stumbling through this valley of the shadow of darkness and death with so little hope, overburdened by too much fear, stress, sadness and anxiety.
Perhaps more than in 1917, the world must more than ever heed Mary’s request to be prepared and pray…extinguishing those flames of Hell and preparing for that glorious New Heaven and New Earth…we are not doomsday people…we are a people of the Resurrection…we are Heaven Preppers.