A Wicked Generation Seeks Signs

May 14, 2024 00:26:10
A Wicked Generation Seeks Signs
Crisis Point
A Wicked Generation Seeks Signs

May 14 2024 | 00:26:10

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Hosted By

Eric Sammons

Show Notes

Millions of Americans have witnessed some amazing celestial events recently, including a total solar eclipse and the aurora borealis. Are these signs from God, perhaps of the End Times?
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:16] Millions of Americans have witnessed some amazing celestial events recently, including the total solar eclipse and the recent Aurora Boralis. [00:00:26] Are these signs from God? Perhaps to the end times? That's we're going to talk about today on Crisis point. Hello, I'm Eric Sammons, your host, and Aaron chief of Crisis magazine. Before we get started, as always, I just want to encourage you to smash that like button, smash it to smithereens, destroy it, obliterate it, whatever it is you have to do to make sure everybody knows how much you like me and all that good stuff. Also, you can subscribe to Channel just hit the subscribe button and we appreciate that. You can follow us on social media at Crisismag. Subscribe to your email newsletter. That's the best way to find out what we're doing at Crisis magazine. All our articles, links to the podcast or in those emails that will come to your inbox once a day. We won't spam you, I promise, at least not too much. Okay, so let's go ahead and get started. So recently, as you may know, if you've not been hiding here in America, at least we've had the some amazing celestial events. As I said, we've had the total solar eclipse not that long ago, and we also had the northern lights, the aurora Boralis. I think that's how you pronounce it. I pronounced everything wrong, so that's probably not correct. And these really are magnificent and I really, I enjoy them. I admit I'm kind of a geek when it comes to stuff like this, of viewing the heavens and astronomy and things like that. I admit I get kind of geeked up about it, but they really are amazing. And a lot of people, even non astronomy geeks, have thought so because at least for me, I think they point to God's wonderful creation, that God has created this wonderful world, this wonderful universe that has all these ways that show his glory. And I also think one thing they do is they show that creation is not utilitarian. What I mean by that, it's not that God said, okay, let's create the universe just so people can live in it, and we'll do the absolute minimum we need for them to survive. I mean, that's kind of a utilitarian way. The only thing that's going to be available to us are things we need to survive. You see that in kind of architecture, you see these utilitarian displays where a building is made and it's basically just super ugly and boring. But it does the job. It has its offices in it. It has its bathrooms, it has its elevators, whatever. But it's ugly. Whereas old architecture often is very beautiful. It also does the job, but it does so much more, and that's what creation is like. So I really do think it's a sign of God's love for us and his love of beauty and how beautiful he is that he gives us these beautiful signs, like the total solar eclipse in the northern lights. It's kind of like, I think of it also a little bit like the miracle of the loaves and fishes that we have this extra abundance. You know, God, Jesus, when he. When he created the miracle of the loaves and the fishes, and he created these loaves and fishes out of. Out of nothing, well, I guess you could say it was out of the few fishes. He multiplied them is probably a more accurate way to put it. He actually made more than was even necessary just to show the abundance of his grace, the abundance of his love. And I think the same thing is true here with these great signs in the heavens for us. [00:03:35] Now that all being said. So I do think they're signs. Just to be clear, although my podcast is titled wicked generation seeks signs, I don't think it's wicked to think that these are signs, because they're obviously signs. That being said, though, I did see a lot of Catholics online talking about perhaps both. This is both with the eclipse and with the northern lights, the possibility that these are signs of something more, something a bit more apocalyptic. Shall we say that they're signs of the end times, and they're quoting different prophecies and different things about the sun being covered up and lights in the skies and things like that. [00:04:17] And first of all, I just want to say I get that I'm not completely immune to the fact that God does work through the natural world to give us signs of things. But I do think there's a lot of problems with that outlook of immediately going to an apocalyptic sign with these natural events that science can easily explain, when there's something like a natural event, like the total solar eclipse, which is just beautiful, by the way. But I also think it's something we know we can explain very easily with science. Same with the aurora Boralis. I mean, I was able to see it on Friday from where I was. I didn't have a great view, unfortunately. I was out of town, and so I was just at a hotel, and I had to, like, basically, I drove about five minutes away to where it was darker to be able to see it a little better. I got a picture of it. It's kind of lame. It wasn't that great. Unfortunately, my son. My son and his fiance, they were able to go somewhere and get a great picture of it where they were. So that was cool to see. [00:05:23] But this idea, though, that this is, immediately we move to, this is a sign of the end times or something apocalyptic. This is God telling us that something terrible is about to happen. I think, frankly, that's an unhealthy way to look at this, to be honest. Now, before I get into why I think this is unhealthy and not the problems with this apocalyptic viewpoint, I just want to make something clear. [00:05:52] I am here kind of criticizing my own tribe, so to speak. I think the people who think this are typically faithful catholics. I'm not, like, saying they're terrible people. They're not Father James martin or something like that. I just want to make sure that's clear. [00:06:07] Sometimes I do think we can get a little bit in our echo chamber where I know I'll get a lot of hits on my videos or on my. On my articles. If I had something against Father James Martin, for example, or something like that, because we all know how terrible they are, and we want to hear about some of the details. When I criticize people who are kind of in our own group, I know I don't get quite the traffic, and I understand that. But it's not to say that I think it's just important that we're always self critical, that we look at ourselves and say, okay, let's make sure we're doing things the right way, the catholic way. And so that's kind of what this is. This is an inside the tribe type of criticism. This is not a look at how terrible those people are type of criticism. I want to make sure that's clear. [00:06:53] So what are some of the things I think are problematic about this apocalyptic view of these natural signs? I think, first of all, I think they can be. They're reactionary in a bad way. [00:07:06] I think, for example, that it's this reaction against the materialistic view of our day. We look at everything. We, meaning the culture, looks at everything very materialistically, that there is nothing beyond the material world. That's the problem with a lot of prominent scientists, people who promote science, is that they act like science can solve every issue. It has to answer everything. It doesn't. It's very limited in what it can do. It's only. It's limited in the material world, which is, frankly, not even half of the real world. I mean, the real world is so much more than material world. [00:07:39] So we naturally react to that and we want to say then, okay, it's not just material, it's spiritual. But I do think there's a point where that can become just a knee jerk thing. I had an article not that long ago at Crisis magazine about kind of criticizing Tucker Carlson for this a little bit, that he was looking at spiritual causes for almost everything. And I think it was a good reaction to the materialistic world we live in. But I think it can go to the opposite extreme, in which you see things that spirits that aren't really there, things that signs that aren't really signs. So I think that we need to, first of all, we test the spirits. What that means is we look to see, okay, is this a spiritual sign? Is it not a spiritual sign? If it is a spiritual sign, what is it directed towards? We don't just automatically say, okay, something weird happened, so therefore we're going to make it like it's a sign of the end of the world. I think that's the problem that I have with that. [00:08:39] Another thing I think is a problem is that we often don't realize that these are well known phenomena in nature. There's nothing that, what's the word for it? There's nothing that remarkable in one sense, with a total solar eclipse or the northern lights. They're remarkable looking. They're quite remarkable looking. But it's not like we don't know how they happen or that they don't happen regularly. On some level, yes, it's very rare for the aurora Boralis to come all the way down to Ohio and even more south than that. But there's a reason that it did that, and that can be easily explained. Likewise, it's very rare for a total solar eclipse in America. It doesn't mean they're actually that rare overall or that we don't understand them. I feel like if God is going to act and give us a sign, it's going to typically be a much more like a dramatic sign. I mean, he gives us signs all the time of his love, of his watching over us, all those things. I don't want to act like that's not true, but these dramatic signs that are supposed to be for lots of people, I feel like those would be truly miraculous, like the miracle of the sun at Fatima, something like that, where it's not explained by science. I mean, it's kind of like what we do when we're canonizing somebody and we're looking at the miracles of the proof of them being in heaven. We're looking for something truly miraculous that we can explain with human reason, with science. Well, we can explain very easily the total solar eclipse, the northern lights. And so I feel like it's not saying it's not a sign at all, but it's not a miraculous sign. That is extraordinary in the sense that it's beyond what we can explain normally. And in fact, these things are actually no different than any other natural process. I mean, the clouds, are we going to say, oh, look, the cloud configuration is a certain way? So that's a sign of some apocalyptic view? I don't think so. But the fact is, the shape of clouds is as natural process as the northern lights or as an eclipse. So I think that's another reason why we have to be careful. And I do think because of this, I think St. Augustine's warning is apt here, which we can look foolish. Now, I know the first thing when I say that the reaction is, well, we're supposed to look foolish. We're supposed to look foolish to the world. And I get that. I mean, trust me, I know the average American who would listen to my podcast normally would think I'm an idiot, think I'm a fool. [00:11:06] I'm okay with that. But I do think there's a point where we recognize that we don't want to go beyond just what the church teaches, what the gospel tells us, and things like that. We don't want to invent our own signs and explanations for things that can be easily explained by science. And that's one of the reasons why I think we can look foolish if we don't realize these are natural phenomena that's happening and therefore unlikely to be these dramatic, extraordinary signs from God. [00:11:39] I also think another issue I have with it is it's a very America centric. I mean, the fact is, these things happen in America, didn't have happened in Africa. Africa did not have a total solar eclipse this year. And I don't think the southern lights, they're called the aurora, Australia or something, I can't remember the exact term for it. I don't think they showed up very. I mean, they show up in parts of Africa, but if you lived in, like, for example, Saudi Arabia or something like that, you didn't see any of this stuff. So therefore, what does that mean? Is it God wasn't giving them a sign? You know, I think that the problem is, is that it becomes very much like because it happened to us and we're the center of our own world. And Americans, let's be honest, we tend to think of ourselves as the center of the world. I think that can be also a problem because we kind of think of ourselves as being special. Like, I would think if there was an eclipse of the sun that was unexplained by science in Rome. Okay, now we're talking. Now we're talking about a real sign that I would be on my knees immediately and think this is God trying to tell us something if something like that happened, but just a natural occurrence happening over America is not distinct enough. Because the point is, a sign is going to be distinct. Actually. In the Gospel of John, John calls the miracles of Jesus. He has seven miracles he focuses on, and he calls them signs. Why? They are signs because they're out of the ordinary. They're miraculous. They can't be easily explained. They take us out of the natural world into the supernatural world. That's what a sign is doing. After all. It's pointing away from the natural world to the supernatural world. [00:13:21] These things, like a total solar eclipse, are the natural world just pointing to the natural world God has created. They're not necessarily pointing to a supernatural reality beyond just the fact that God exists, like the things we can know from reason that one tells us, we know from reason that God exists. For example, I think, though, one of my biggest issues with this is that the sign seeking, I think it's contrary to what our Lord has talked about. Our Lord himself has explicitly made it clear that we should not be a generation that seeks signs. I mean, he says a wicked and adulterous generation seeks signs. This is from Matthew 16 four, says, an evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given to except the sign of Jonah. Well, what is the sign of Jonah? Because I think that's a kind of an interesting phrase he uses there to say it's a sign of Jonah. Well, what it is, the church fathers talk about this. The sign of Jonah is the sign of salvation through repentance. Because what did Jonah do? He was supposed to go to Nineveh preacher repentance, but he said no, ended up in a baal of, well, for three days, which is, of course, a sign of the resurrection, in the crucifixion and resurrection. [00:14:36] And then, of course, it's repentance, because that's what Jonah was supposed to preach, repentance. And so what Jesus is saying is instead of seeking these great signs of the miraculous, that's what a wicked and adulterous generation does. Instead we should be seeking repentance. Repentance, salvation through repentance, going back to the basics. That's what Jesus is saying. And he says in other places, for example, Matthew 24 six, he says, you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you're not alarmed, for this must take place. But the end is not yet. So some people talk about the wars and rumors of wars, but he's saying that that happens. It doesn't necessarily mean it's a sign of the end, because obviously we have wars and rumors of wars right now. [00:15:21] Luke 1720 through 21, our Lord says, the kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed. [00:15:28] Again, I'll say that the kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, lo, here it is, or there. For, behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you. I think that's a very interesting words from our lord, because you see people saying, look, there's the coming of God because of this sign. It's about to be this terrible thing, this terrible thing, because the end time is coming. What Lord is saying is, the kingdom of God is already here. And what is that? It's the church. It's his presence here in the church, the Holy Spirit coming to us. And it's the fact that in the sacramental nature of the church, that the kingdom of God is actually already here in some real way. [00:16:10] And so therefore, that's the life we should be thinking about, not, okay, what's the next sign? Some miraculous thing, but instead just looking at the reality of the kingdom of God being present already through the Catholic Church. [00:16:25] And another passage I just want to read. One final one is Matthew 24 36 and 44. [00:16:31] But of that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. Therefore, you must also be ready, for the son of man is coming an hour you do not expect. Ultimately, we don't know when our Lord is going to come. We don't know. We should be prepared for it. And I'll talk for a minute how we prepare for it. But this idea that, okay, I saw some cool lights in the sky, and therefore, that is a sign of terrible things to come, or even the end times, the son of man to come, I think that's not a proper way that we should be looking at things. I don't think it's the way our Lord wants us to. He's warned us very explicitly that those who seek signs, I mean, look at the gospels. There are a few instances of this where people seek signs from him, they seek miracles. They want the spectacular. And what God is saying, or Lord is saying, is that don't look for the spectacular in the extraordinary, but look at the ordinary and see how I am present in the ordinary. In the ordinary, for example, of bread and wine, of water, of things, of oil, things like this. These are ordinary things. And in fact, that's one of the interesting things about the sacraments, is how boring they are in one sense. I mean, if you don't have faith, you don't know what's going on. Seeing somebody pour water over the head of a kid or somebody receiving a piece of bread, it just seems boring and ordinary. But we know through the eyes of faith how extraordinary it is that it's a real sign. In fact, those are the real signs of Christianity, are the seven sacraments. They've been called seven signs because why? They're natural things that point to the supernatural. Those are the real signs that we always should be looking for. I think ultimately what happens is that the reason I really. I'm kind of going off on this, to be honest. I think it's very unhealthy because. Very unhealthy. This attitude of looking at the supernatural, looking for supernatural signs and dramatic things and things of that nature. [00:18:35] I really do think that what it does is it disturbs our peace, because what it ultimately is doing is these signs. What we're saying is something terrible is about to happen, that all of a sudden, because we saw certain lights in the sky, maybe a war is about to start or a famine or something, the church is going to be persecuted. Well, I think that's a real unhealthy way to be living, to be looking for those things. It gives us a constant state of anxiety and stress that we're constantly looking for what terrible thing is going to happen next. Now, I think, you know, from this podcast and from the very magazine I write for and run, I think we're in a crisis. Okay, I have to take a break here for a second. My son, who does listen every once in a while on the podcast. Hello, if you're listening right now, Peter, he said, I need to have. I need to ring a bell every time I say the word crisis during the podcast. So I think I might institute that soon where anytime I say the word crisis, we're gonna have a bell ring or something like that. But obviously, getting back to the point, we're in a crisis. I know that. I mean, we have reasons to be anxious and be stressed out just naturally. I get that. But ultimately, I think what matters, though, is that we have to have a certain peace about us, that the Lord is in control. We don't need to be looking. Okay, what dramatic thing is going to happen? I also think it's unhealthy because I think it's an escapism. Escapism from, again, the boring routine of life that every day we live life. We got to wash the dishes, we got to change the diapers, we got to go into work, we got to sit at the cubicle, we got to do all these boring things. And if we can think of all these extraordinary things, it makes our life just a little bit more exciting, a little more hollywood. [00:20:26] So I think that's a danger, because salvation comes through the ordinary. Salvation is through the ordinary means of life. Just like we know it comes through the sacraments, it also comes through just our ordinary. [00:20:40] Following God's commands in the ordinary day of life. So doing our duties at work, at home, to our wife, to our kids, things like that, going to church each Sunday, all those things that are, frankly can. Yes, I admit they can be boring, but those are the things that we're supposed to do. And so I think this sign chasing can be a real problem in that situation. [00:21:05] I also think ultimately, and this is kind of my final main point here, I think it's unnecessary. [00:21:13] I think it's unnecessary. [00:21:16] It does not help you in any way, shape or form to see one of these, to interpret one of these, like the northern lights, as a sign of some apocalypse coming. [00:21:29] Now, I know people who do that often think that they're spiritualizing things. They're more spiritual and more pious for doing that. But ultimately, it's unnecessary, because we know that if we are simply faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ in the catholic life, then what will happen is we will be prepared for the end times, either our own end time or the end times of the world. And that's the most important part, is it's a preparation. [00:22:02] Now, God does sometimes, and he has said he will at some point, give extraordinary signs in order to make his presence known to a wider group of people, particularly sinners, who are closed to his. His world. That's why our Lord did miracles during his lifetime, was to make it clear who he was. [00:22:23] But ultimately, for those of us who are practicing Catholics, we don't need these signs, because we already have them, in the sense, through the sacraments, through the Catholic Church. And what we're called to do is live that ordinary life of prayer, of sacraments, of fasting, of charity, those. That's the way we prepare. If we do that, and the Lord came tomorrow, and that's what we are doing, we will go straight to heaven. [00:22:51] That's the key here. If you want to be prepared for the Lord's coming either directly to you at the end of your life or the end of the world, the only way to prepare is not to look for signs everywhere, to do all these things like they tell you to do about candles and all that stuff, holy water. I'm not saying those things are bad. I'm just saying if you. That's not what we need to depend on. What we depend upon is simply living the catholic life. That's the only way that you prepare. So our focus needs to be not on external signs but on holiness growing in holiness. If we do that, we'll be ready. And no matter what happens in the world, we'll be ready. So if there's wars, rumors of wars, if there's famines, if there's earthquakes, if there's signs in the heavens, we'll be ready because we'll be living our holy life. So I just. People might think, okay, why are you so focused on this? [00:23:49] I just feel like the world is going to hell in a lot of ways, let's be honest. And I feel like a lot of us are feel unmoored. We're looking for God to be present. I think this is one of the reasons that our Lord said a wicked and adulterous generation seeks signs. Wasn't because he's saying necessarily wicked and adulterous people are seeking signs. But what he's saying is also that when a generation is wicked and adulterous, we see evil all around us. We're desperate to know that God is present. We're desperate to know God is still active in the world. And so we look to these things and say, okay, this is like this dramatic sign that God still exists because he's going to do this marvelous thing or whatever. [00:24:38] And so because we see wickedness and adultery all around us, we don't really see God very closely. And so we want these dramatic signs, but that's not what our Lord wants us to do. Because ultimately, when we're at mass and the priest holds up the consecrated host. [00:24:56] There we go. There we go, man. There's nothing else better than that. There's nothing more miraculous than that. It's Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior by blood, soul and divinity coming down and being present to us under the appearance of bread. So when we see that, that's the sign we should be looking for. That's the sign we should be seeking. And if we do that, then I feel like we can escape this kind of anxiety, stress filled view of let's chase signs. Let's seek signs all around us, dramatic signs that everybody can see. Instead, we should just focus on what we know. We know. Our Lord, for example, is the sign in the Eucharist is the greatest sign we can have. Okay, I feel like I've beat that one a little bit to death. But I hope that was helpful for people just to kind of not get too caught up with kind of the apocalyptic fever dreams of some Catholics. But instead, just focus on the basics. Focus on the ordinary, grow in holiness, see the miraculous signs and the sacraments above all things. Okay, I'll leave it with that. Until next time, everybody. God, love.

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