22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time


Dear Friends,

Recently a very faithful and active parishioner asked me about a certain prophecy that predicted three days of darkness on the face of the earth which is to begin on September 1, 2022, and for which we need to be prepared with “candles of blessed wax alone that will give light during this horrible darkness.” This is apparently based on prophecies by visionaries or seers like Blessed Anna Maria Taigi who lived from 1769-1837. Padre Pio is also said to have made or alluded to such prophecies – though that claim is disputed. The Church does not oblige us to believe in any particular prophecy, whether it is about natural calamities and total darkness as punishment from God, the end of the world, or the exact time of the second coming of Christ.  In fact, obsession with the second coming of Christ was a concern that St. Paul had to address in his letter to Thessalonians in these words:

We ask you, brothers and sisters,
with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our assembling with him,
not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly,
or to be alarmed either by a “spirit,” or by an oral statement,
or by a letter allegedly from us
to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.
Let no one deceive you in any way. (2 Thessalonians, 2:1-3)

This was part of the passage read for the Mass last Tuesday and I explained that it is not a thing of the past. The very deception, that St. Paul warned the first Christians against, has been recurring time and again in the course of human history. Most prominent among these has been date-fixing for the second coming of Christ. History is filled with so many such dates for which many different groups, deceived by a cult leader or a visionary, had prepared, even by selling all their possessions. But such examples of fixing a date, based on some sayings of a seer, is totally contrary to what Jesus himself said in Mark 13:32: “Concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

At the same time, we give credence to what we know from the Bible about the second coming of Christ. That is what we profess every Sunday in our Creed, “He [Jesus] shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead; and His kingdom shall have no end.”

What the Scriptures are asking us is to be ready for it for God has not revealed the date or time as some have been predicting, no matter how sincere these individuals are. That readiness happens when we go about our daily duties even as we try to live the gospel values to the best of our ability despite whatever shortcomings and frailties we may have. But, do not be afraid as Jesus has reminded us numerous times:

“See to it that you are not deceived. For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.” (Luke 21:8-9)

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal