The first passage is a direct follow on from yesterday. The question then was how do we discern when our leadership is apostate, and what we should do. This is the other side of the coin. What happens to us to leaders and followers who are deceived, and it a warning.
It was not the three leaders: Dathan, Abirham and Korah. It was another two hundred plus elders who followed him. Hell literally swallowed them, and their followers were destroyed by the fire of God. Being deceived can be lethal: not merely in this life but in the next. Make no mistake and don’t be deceived. We are fallen. This is taken from a Godly Papist, but there are plenty of Protestant services where this applies to.
The congregation consists of children who have not been catechized, are bored to death, and would rather be texting or playing video games; young adults who are fornicating or engaging in solitary vice in their spare time, as this is the “gospel” they hear preached in their sex-ed classes, and no one even thinks of impeding their vices or correcting their errors; married couples who, with a few happy exceptions, contracept their marital vocation out of existence; older folks who, under the lifelong influence of the capitalist secularism that animates contemporary America, attend church because it’s a good habit, like brushing one’s teeth or wearing clean clothes. Hardly anyone is morally prepared for prayer and hardly anyone actually prays — an unmistakable sign of which is the unstoppable chitchat that pervades the church before the “gathering hymn” fills the electrified air and that resumes right after the “scattering hymn” is over and the altar girls are on their way out. In between was the obligatory reception of a wafer in the hands, for some strange reason that no one can quite explain, except that it’s got something to do with belonging.
Apart from exceptional clergy touched by the beneficent dew of Tradition, the priest who heads this congregation — or, shall we say, who presides over this assembly — may be worse off than his flock. It’s possible he neither prays his breviary nor does daily mental prayer; perhaps he does not pray or study much at all, which would explain the shallow, vaguely relevant, vaguely left-leaning homilies. His life is busy but superficial. He runs a strong risk of being trapped in one form of immorality or another, be it rampant gossip, entertainment-saturated indolence, self-indulgence at the table, attachment to drink, or worse vices that shall remain unnamed. In sum: the people are lost, confused, surrendered to the all-pervasive secularism, and so is their priest, except that he can hide it better. Nay, he has often gone one step further: invoking Vatican II, he magically makes lack of faith, lack of doctrine, lack of morals, and lack of solemn liturgy sound like a pious accommodation to the modern world.
I’m not Catholic, I’m reformed. But I think I know more Catholic doctrine than that. Attending holy service is a duty, and avoiding it a sin. We are commanded to meet with each other, so that we will not lose faith, and continue to do good. Communion (the wafer) is a declaration of the death of Christ — and will continue until he comes. It is to approached with reverence. To be unworthy in our approach to this again puts us a risk.
But we are sedated, not with religion, nor with Christ (his spirit would wake us up) but instead with substances, vices, and soy based faux nutrition. We are being distracted to damnation.
As I said before, these passages are a warning. So we take Christ and his claims seriously.
20 And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 21 “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” 22 And they fell on their faces and said, “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with all the congregation?” 23 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Say to the congregation, Get away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”
25 Then Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart, please, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be swept away with all their sins.” 27 So they got away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, together with their wives, their sons, and their little ones. 28 And Moses said, “Hereby you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, and that it has not been of my own accord. 29 If these men die as all men die, or if they are visited by the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. 30 But if the Lord creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the Lord.”
31 And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart. 32 And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods. 33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. 34 And all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up!” 35 And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men offering the incense.
23 When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. 25 And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:
26 “‘Go to this people, and say,
“You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
27 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed;
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’
28 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”
30 He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
We should look to God. Not to the leaders of this world: they lie. They would rather argue about the truth, and try to score rhetorical points, than reform and change. I can understand this. Scoring rhetorical points is fun, and relatively easy. Change is hard. Really hard.
But change is where this crisis is leading us. Do not get caught where the Jews in Rome were: arguing on the details of exegesis when the resurrected Christ is proclaimed. Here is where we as individuals need to be careful. We may be pewsitters. We may think that our leaders can do the thinking for us. We may find that we are too comfortable with the evil of this world, and too moderate.
God does not want us like that. He wants us extreme. The lukewarm he will reject.
If you don’t regularly pray and fast, you’re in dire straits against demonic attacks, and must pray to God to reveal to you the severity of your condition so that you can begin a spiritual life of repentance. Saint Theophan the Recluse has stated that for those who do neither, we can assume a demon is already residing in them, filling their minds with all sorts of evil ideas.
After repentance, the demons will be busy trying to push you back in the world with bad thoughts and suggestions, and if that doesn’t work, they may try to ruin your life by setting you against a parent or spouse, or encouraging someone to levy false accusations against you, and if that still doesn’t work, and you are insistent on trusting God with all your heart and soul, they may appear in corporeal form to frighten you and rattle your faith. Once you decide for Christ, there is rarely an easy moment.
We are called to be of Christ. We are not called to be slaves to the wordly system. This is going to cost you now in this time of change. But, once we are through the crisis, you may find something strange. The things you were worried about losing are immaterial. For what matters is Christ, We are on this earth so we know him, and enjoy this forever.
Yes secular music today. But note the theme: the celebration of God versus the consequences of serving wordly power.