‘For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but only until
the one who now restrains it is removed’ (2 Thes 2:7). What is
this mystery of lawlessness? Who is restraining him? Lawless one,
according to St Paul is another name of Antichrist who is waiting
to reveal himself in the days preceding the glorious
second coming of Jesus Christ. The Scripture says; ’The coming of
the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power,
signs, lying wonders, and every kind of wicked deception for those who are
perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved’ (2 Thess.
2:9-10). If you are skeptical about the imminent second coming
of Jesus Christ and yet claim to be a Catholic, we
would suggest you read the statements of Ss. Pope Paul VI and
Pope John Paul II. They had given us warnings in unequivocal
words that the signs of the end times are unfolding before our eyes.
‘The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy
the works of the devil’ (1 Jn 3:8). We read that one of the most important
ministries that Jesus performed was delivering the people
from evil forces. He ascended into heaven after entrusting this
vital ministry of casting away evil spirits to his disciples. Even today,
the Church continues this ministry using the authority handed over to her
through the uninterrupted chain of laying of hands. The devil
cannot stand before Christ and he should not be able to stand
before Christ’s mystical body too. As long as the Church is active
in this world, Satan finds it difficult to roam around as he
wishes. Antichrist, the human face of Satan too will face this
challenge from the Church. As long as the Church is in the field,
it is difficult for him to execute his diabolic plans to the extent he expects.
The devil knows for sure that Jesus Christ is present in the
Holy Eucharist. Unlike many Christians who doubt the real presence of
Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, Satan has absolutely no
doubts about it. It is then natural that his first target will be
to stop the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, and the easiest way to
attack the Holy Eucharist is to strike the priests who are
authorized to celebrate it. When we start viewing things from this
perspective, it is not difficult to identify the forces behind the concerted attacks against priests and priesthood.
Deliverance services are special ministries conducted
by priests. It is sad that the number of priests who venture into
this most essential ministry is coming down gradually.
As a result, deliverance ministries are becoming inaccessible to many. A time
when deliverance ministries and even Holy Mass is difficult
to find was a distant possibility of any Christian till very
recently. Today we are living in a time where this nightmare has become a
reality. We should not be surprised to see the discontinuation of
the regular offering – the celebration of Holy Eucharist- in
our days. It is not a mere possibility, but a foregone conclusion. When
it happens, the one thing that restrains the man of lawlessness from revealing himself to the world is getting removed.
Keep your eyes and ears open, because he is coming with ‘a powerful delusion leading them to believe what is false’ (2 Thess 2:10). He will use all power, signs, wonders and every kind of wickedness to ensnare us. As Christians, we are not expected to look around for miracles, nor are we expected to stand at street corners exclaiming at the wonders that he performs. We know the reason. Every miracle need not be from God. The Scripture warns us to know the tree from its fruit. Our generation should take this warning with all its seriousness lest those falsities will lead us to a destination that God never wanted us to be in.
John the Apostle has given us an essential clue for distinguishing the trees planted by our Father and those weeds sown by the enemy. ‘Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God, And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world’ (1 Jn 4:3).
This is the litmus test; confessing Jesus! Celebrating Jesus as a prophet or virtuous teacher or revolutionary or social reformer has nothing to do with confessing Jesus as God. Confessing Jesus means celebrating him as the Son of God, the one and only Savior and redeemer of mankind, and believing that he died on the cross for our sins, and that he rose from the dead on the third day, and that he sits at the right hand of the Father, and that he will come again to judge the living and the dead. To pass the test we should also proclaim our faith.
Let us introspect and find out which spirit is leading us. Those who are in Christ remain there firmly. Those who are not in Christ turn to Christ. Those who are for Christ are assured of a future glory that is beyond our imagination, but as for now they are earmarked for persecution at the hands of men controlled by the spirit of Christ’s arch enemy.
The prophet says; ‘ From that time the regular offering is taken away and the abomination that desolates is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred ninety days. Happy are those who persevere and attain the thousand three hundred thirty-five days’ (Dan 12:11-12).
Let anyone with ears to hear listen.