Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us,
so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified,
as it did among you, and that we may be delivered
from perverse and wicked people, for not all have faith.
But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you
and guard you from the evil one. (Sunday’s second reading; 2 Thes 2:16-3:5)
As Christians we believe, according to the Scriptures, that all men and women are made “in the image of God”; that we were made essentially “good”Genesis 1:27, 1:31 Our will, reason, and memory — though now in a fallen state — give us the capacity through grace to share in the divine nature.2 Pet 1:4 Hence, Christ’s own mission reveals to us a God who, with unfathomable love, seeks out the lost sheep to restore the divine image within each of us. Jesus always looked beyond the sin in a soul to its potential to become a reflection of Himself. For our part, what is required is genuine repentance and faith in God in order for sanctifying grace to begin its work.Eph 2:8
However, as St. Paul notes, not everyone wants to be saved: “for not all have faith.” There are those “perverse and wicked people” who reject grace, light, and goodness. Try as we may to reach them with the Gospel, with truth and love, their hearts only become harder. In the case of those who rise to positions of power, these can become sociopaths or dictators. Nonetheless, St. Paul admonishes the nascent Church that “if possible, on your part, live at peace with all”; Rom 12:18 to “strive for peace with everyone” Heb 12:14 and to offer “supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgiving… for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.”1 Tim 2:1-2
But it’s not always possible. If the cost of “peace” is silence, then there will be no peace.
Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard. (Acts 4:20-21)
And so it was that Paul and all the post-Pentecost Apostles (with the exception of St. John) were martyred for their faith.
Today, Christians are increasingly faced with a similar situation whereby those hungry for power would trample upon life itself in order to remake the world in their own image.
Humanity today offers us a truly alarming spectacle, if we consider not only how extensively attacks on life are spreading but also their unheard-of numerical proportion, and the fact that they receive widespread and powerful support from a broad consensus on the part of society, from widespread legal approval and the involvement of certain sectors of health-care personnel… with time the threats against life have not grown weaker. They are taking on vast proportions. They are not only threats coming from the outside, from the forces of nature or the “Cains” who kill the “Abels”; no, they are scientifically and systematically programmed threats. —POPE ST JOHN PAUL II, Evangelium Vitae, n. 17
This is no more evident than in the global drive to inject every single person on the planet with an mRNA gene therapy — whether they want it or not. As we continue to report here, the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) in the United States alone reveals that COVID injections account for over three-quarters of all vaccines combined for reported deaths (76.7%) and now almost three-quarters for reported permanent disabilities (73.8%). This is for less than a two-year period vs 30 years of reporting of all vaccines and drugs. As of today, the reported deaths for all VAERS Covid jabs is 31,818. But an analysis by Columbia University factoring in underreporting puts that number more likely 20 times higher — over 636,000 deaths.expose.uk; researchgate.net
And yet last month, Western Australia — one of the most radical regions outside of China for their COVID measures — has just passed the “Emergency Management Amendment (Temporary COVID-19 Provisions) Act 2022” which gives them license to, among other things, confine and forcibly make someone ‘submit to infection prevention and control procedures within such reasonable period, and in such reasonable manner, as is specified by the officer.'77N, 1, a-c In other words, forced vaccination. And this is merely for someone ‘who has been exposed’ to the virus and not even infected.
Again, Pope John Paul II clearly foresaw that future existential threats against mankind would be “scientifically and systematically programmed threats” — and we ought to really pay attention to that. Recall again the startling words of the Orthodox saint, Paisios of Mt. Athos (1924–1994):
…now a vaccine has been developed to combat a new disease, which will be obligatory and those taking it will be marked… Later on, anyone who is not marked with the number 666 will not be able to either buy or sell, to get a loan, to get a job, and so forth. My thinking tells me that this is the system through which the Antichrist has chosen to take over the whole world, and people who are not part of this system won’t be able to find work and so on — whether black or white or red; in other words, everyone he will take over through an economic system that controls the global economy, and only those who have accepted the seal, the mark of the number 666, will be able to participate in business dealings. —Elder Paisios – The Signs of the Times, p.204, Holy Monastery of Mount Athos / Distributed by AtHOS; 1st edition, January 1, 2012
As explained here, his words are certainly plausible in the present environment. And it seems there are enough “perverse and wicked people” to carry out these mandates — all for the “common good”, of course.
Which brings us to the first Mass reading and the emotional story of seven brothers and their mother who were arrested for refusing to break God’s law (of eating pork). For resisting the “state narrative”, each son was tortured to death before his mother. But they did so bravely and willingly, as one son cried out, “We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.”
Whether you or I live to see the days of St. John’s “mark of the beast” is not the point. Right now many are being forced to accept a health technocracy that violates bodily autonomy; right now, many are being forced to not only teach gender ideology to children but accommodate the mutilation of their genitals; right now, many are being forced to remain silent — or lose their jobs, face prosecution, or have their bank accounts frozen — if they dare to contradict the state narrative.
The Scriptures these days are no longer ancient stories and teachings of the past but present warnings and urgent encouragement for us to persevere, to remain steadfast, sober and alert, and courageous. And to never betray Our Lord — even should it cost our lives.
It is my choice to die at the hands of men
with the hope God gives of being raised up by Him… (2 Macc 7:9)
—Mark Mallett is the author of The Now Word, The Final Confrontation, and a co-founder of Countdown to the Kingdom