Skip to comments.[Catholic Caucus] Pondering the Great Reversal Announced in Scripture
Posted on 04/16/2018 8:12:37 AM PDT by Salvation
One of the strong traditions of Scripture is of the great reversal that will one day come for many. I have often been sobered by it when I consider how blessed I have been in this life. I have also been consoled by it when I struggle to understand why some people in this world seem to suffer so much more that I do, or others do.
Life seems a very uneven proposition if we only look at this side of the equation. Only God sees the whole picture, but to some extent, he has revealed that those who have suffered much in this life will be more than rewarded in the life to come and that there will be a great reversal.
The theme of the great reversal is most fully developed in the New Testament where the understanding of the life to come is also most developed. Consider the following texts:
There are other examples, and I invite you to add to this list. But, for now, let these suffice. As I have said, I am both challenged and consoled by these texts.
I am consoled because I have suffered and experienced setbacks in this life, as Im sure have you. But the Lord promises that if these are endured with faith, they ultimately lead to profit, not loss. And while much of this benefit may wait until Heaven, sufferings endured with faith are like treasure stored up in Heaven. First the cross, but then the crown. Hallelujah!
I am also consoled on behalf of others. I know many people who have suffered far more than seems fair. They have experienced loss after loss: lost health, lost jobs, lost homes, lost family members. My humanity recoils at this and I often cry to God on the behalf of these people who seem to suffer so much more than others. Why, O Lord?
But I am also challenged. I am certainly among those who are first. What does this say for me in the great reversal that is coming upon this world? My health is good; I enjoy bountiful blessings. I am more blessed that I deserve. I live in the richest and most powerful country in the world. My needs are largely provided for. I am here in my temperature-controlled room with plenty of time to write and to ponder things. I live far above mere subsistence level. I am surely among the first, the rich. Even the poorest in this country are blessed compared to many in other parts of the world.
Where shall I be when the first trumpet sounds, when the great reversal sets in?
Not everything is as it appears. We crave wealth, power, and access, considering those to be blessings. We want to be first. But God warns that it may well be a curse:
Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains (1 Tim 6:9-10).
Even though we are familiar with texts like this we still want to be rich, on top, first. We are very obtuse!
And so I am challenged. I am not, however, defeated or fatalistic. God has not utterly forsaken those who are first. He has left us a way. He has given us instruction on how to avoid the curse of our wealth and good fortune: use our position as first in order to bless others; place our many gifts at the service of the human family. A few texts come to mind:
And so it is that the Lord instructs those who are cursed to be first to store up our true treasure in Heaven (Matt 6:19). Of course we do not store up our treasure in Heaven by sending it up in a balloon or rocket! Rather, we store it up by generously dispensing it to the poor and needy. We may do this through a simple gift. Perhaps we provide jobs and economic opportunity for others. Maybe we share our knowledge, talents, or time. In doing such things, perhaps our curse of being among the first will be overcome.
The great reversal is coming! Where will I be when the first trumpet sounds?
This Chant of the Funeral Mass refers to the great reversal but prays that the deceased will be found with Lazarus, who once was poor. The text says, In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem. (May the angels lead you to paradise and at your coming may the martyrs receive you and may they lead you into the Holy City Jerusalem. May a choir of Angels receive you and with Lazarus who once was poor, may you have eternal rest.)
Monsignor Pope Ping!
There are other examples, and I invite you to add to this list.
Msgr. Pope might watch the episode of Life is Worth Living (Bishop Sheen) called “The Best City in the World in Which to be Broke.” It covers a trip he made to Lourdes and today happens to be the feast day of St. Bernadette, so it’s a perfect viewing.
Anyway, Bishop Sheen mentions prayers answered by Our Lord, and one prayer that is always answered is the one whereby one asks for trouble, some inconvenience, in which to help another.
And he goes on to continue with his stories. (I needed a tissue nearby for some of the program.) Here it is. Enjoy!
And as a heads-up, there are closed captions on the video link I left above.
bump for later
Msgr Pope is blessed and has the opportunity to do God’s work as a priest, and we are blessed to have him. Thank you Father.
We all go through trials and tribulations that we overcome or die in our misery of sin.
Yes, we are blessed, but we can also give of ourselves in our love of God and our neighbors. Do we do enough? Hard to answer?
I would be glad to be last as long as I make the cut and be able to be with God in Heaven. Does it matter who is first or last as long as we are together with God?
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