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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Fr. Campbell "“To guide our feet into the way of peace” (Lk.1:79)"

“To guide our feet into the way of peace” (Lk.1:79)

Fr. Campbell 

 


Hearing the news these days may not leave us in our usual cheery disposition. The world is in chaos, and world leaders don’t have any great solution except to prepare for war. Our Lord told us there would be wars and rumors of wars (Mt.24:6). But don’t be too quick to reach for your weapons, for “all those who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Mt.26:52).

War is not God’s idea. “I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction,” says the Lord (Jer.29:11). We must know that our help is in the Name of the Lord: 

“A king is not saved by a mighty army, nor is a warrior delivered by great strength. Useless is the horse for safety; great though its strength, it cannot provide escape. But see, the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness, to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine. Our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and our shield, for in him our hearts rejoice; in his holy name we trust” (Ps.32:16-21).


Well then, what do we do about North Korea, or Russia, or the Islamic nations? Yes, we have a right to protect ourselves, but if we are not in obedience to God and His Commandments, we don’t have His protection, and our own defenses are useless. A nation or a people that has turned its back on God must be prepared to take the consequences. Our Lord warns us:

“But I say to you, my friends: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will show you whom you shall be afraid of; be afraid of him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell. Yes, I say to you, be afraid of him” (Lk.12:4-6a).

The nation that turns from God and His Holy Commandments is asking for fire and brimstone from the heavens, such as God sent upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Read the signs of the times, says Our Lord:

“For you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. Take care that you do not be alarmed, for these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be pestilences and famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are the beginning of sorrows” (Mt.24:6-8).

Those who do not have faith will be terrified of the things that are coming. Those who have followed the false church will be especially lost and confused, and there will be a terrible persecution. But the true Church will finally emerge from her eclipse and will be there for those who seek her. The psalms speak prophetically of the Church:

“They who trust in the Lord are like Mount Sion, which is immovable; which stands forever. Mountains are round about Jerusalem; so the Lord is round about his people, both now and forever” (Ps.124:1,2).

We must be mindful of the things of the spirit, and not of fallen human nature:

“But the sensual man does not perceive the things that are of the Spirit of God, for it is foolishness to him and he cannot understand, because it is examined spiritually. But the spiritual man judges all things, and he himself is judged by no man. For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord, that he might instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ” (1Cor.2:15,16).

And do we have the mind of Christ? Or are we still wavering from the straight path that leads to life? Recent events should convince us that the time to follow Christ is NOW. Our Lord speaks with urgency:

“Enter by the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who enter that way. How narrow the gate and close the way that leads to life! And few there are who find it” (Mt.7:13,14).

Fight the good fight, but with spiritual weapons, says St. Paul:

“Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high. Therefore take up the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and stand in all things perfect. Stand, therefore, having girded  your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate  of justice, and having your feet shod with the readiness of the gospel of peace, in all things taking up the shield of faith, with which you may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, that is, the word of God” (Eph.6:11-17).

Our Lord will come on the clouds of Heaven:

“But immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give her light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven; and then will all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with great power and majesty. And he will send forth his angels with a trumpet and a great sound, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, and from one end of the heavens to the other” (Mt.24:29-31).

The tribes of the earth may hide in fear, but the Lord has words for us:

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom” (Lk.12:32).