READ IT FIRST: A HOMILY ON FRIDAY, 32ND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR II
How many people believe that Adam and Eve ate an apple? Does the bible really say they ate an apple, or did they see that from the bible story book they read in sunday school? How many people believe that St. Paul fell off a donkey on the road to Damascus? Does the bible really say so or the preacher who was preaching on the passage? Often, we are more interested in what someone said about a particular text, than reading the very text itself. When we do that, we miss out on a lot of things.
This kind of disposition has brought us to where we are now concerning the end time. So many times, when we talk about the end time, we do so based on what someone said the bible said, rather than what the bible actually said. Here we will look at it from two passages. The first is about the antichrist. So many times we have been told that so and so person is the antichrist. At a point, it was said that Pope John Paul II was the antichrist. Recently, many people have said Pope Francis is the antichrist. Others have named President Trump the antichrist. But what does the bible actually say about the antichrist?
1. The only book in the bible where the antichrist is actually mentioned, is in the epistles of St. John. Many people have the impression that Jesus ever spoke about the antichrist. Read the whole bible and discover that is not true. Many people think the book of Revelations speaks about the antichrist. That is also not true. The word ‘antichrist’ is only mentioned in the letters of St. John.
2. If you read the first reading of today, you will discover that there are many antichrists, rather than one. Many people are under the impression that the bible actually predicts a day when one person will appear in the world, who is the antichrist. Well, the epistles of St. John said there are many antichrists and that at the time when the letters were being written, many antichrists already existed (1 John 2:18). So the antichrist is not a particular person that needs to be discovered or figured out.
3. We do not need extraordinary powers to identify an antichrist. St. John already tells us what makes someone an antichrist. An antichrist is someone who denies that Jesus is the Christ, those who deny that Jesus appeared in the flesh. He is also someone who denies the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22). What does this mean in the Queen’s English? It is anybody who denies the incarnation of Jesus Christ and teaches people the same. It is someone who denies the historicity of the gospels. It is someone who denies that Jesus actually took flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and that in her womb, the eternal word of the Father, the Son, became man. It is those who said Mary only gave birth to the human Jesus, but she is not the mother of God. It is those who say the Resurrection is just a hocus, and something that was just in the mind of the disciples. It is someone who deny the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. It is someone who denies that the Church is the presence of Jesus in the world today. It is someone who denies the existence of Jesus in the gathered assembly, even though Jesus said ‘Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there.’. It is someone who denies that the priest represents Jesus in the Liturgy. It is someone who denies the face of Jesus in the poor. It is someone who fails to see the face of Jesus in all of scripture. So many people talk about the Old Testament without any refference to Christ and they fail to see that the whole of scriptures was about Christ and that even the Old Testament does not make sense without Christ. These are the antichrists. There are so many of these kinds of people and we usually find most of them in churches.
4. By the way, there is no connection anywhere in the bible between antichrist and the number 666. Beware of people who deduce from the shape of a man’s fingers that he is the anntichrist. The devil has deceived us to be looking for him in the wrong places, because that way he will continue to ruin our lives. Before you get carried away by that preacher, read your bible and see what it actually says.
Another area where we totally ignore what the bible says, without knowing we are doing so, is in the question of the end time. We often get the impression that we can deduce from the bible when the end time will be. The bible does not contain such records. The bible does give us warnings about the end time, but the bible does not give us a specific date or a specific venue. Jesus spoke a lot about his second coming, but like we read in the gospel today, he told us to be ready, because it will happen unexpectedly. How is it that we are still trying to figure out something that is meant to happen unexpectedly? I do not know. Even when the disciples asked directly to know where, Jesus said ‘Where the body is, there too will the vultures gather.’ One way of looking at this answer is from the point of view of the Euchrist. We always gather to eat His Body and drink His Blood. This is the foretaste of the coming kingdom and it is the best way to be gathered as children of God. The question of where it will be is irrelevant. Before we start worrying about end time and rapture, let us identify the various ways that Christ is present to us today. Let us enter into the church, the new ark of Noah and not wait do be surprised by the sudden flood. Many preachers are so obsessed with the whole idea of antichrists as well as end time that people have been led astray with so many wrong teachings. You might be looking for the antichrist without knowing that by so doing, you are already an antichrist. One way to avoid this is to actually read what the bible says about these issues rather than what some antichrist is saying the bible is saying.
I am Fr. Ifeanyichukwu Henry Nwokoro, CSsR. I am your fellow child of God and this is my way of sharing my daily reflections with you. Please feel free to leave a comment, suggestion or question. Let everything that lives and that breathes give praise to the Lord.
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