“CHRIST BECAME ABOMINABLE TO MAKE YOU HOLY”
Saint Matthew 24. 15-28
Third Last Sunday in Church Year (Trinity 25 Propers)
10 November Anno Domini 2013
Father Watson SSP
In The Name + of Jesus
Jesus quotes Daniel because, as the Lord said elsewhere, “…the Scriptures…they testify…of Me” [Jn. 5.39] The Lord tells the “12” and all His disciples “you shall see the abomination of desolation.” An abomination is not good. It is abominable—horrible, not meant to be. Desolation is wasteland—scarred earth salted with sulfur. To be desolate is the opposite of The Garden and fecundity. Abomination produces desolation. True desolation is the isolation of self-chosen exile from God’s love and grace--unbelief.
It’s easy to say that the Papacy and the Council of Trent fits this description. It’s convenient to say that the heretical sects are being referenced. Yes; insofar as they “stand in the Holy Place” and desecrate that which is Holy. What does this mean?
Christ is predicting the fall and destruction of Jerusalem which was to occur in the year 70—yes. Christ was predicting the final end of all time and earthly strife when He returns in glory at the final Advent—yes. Christ was commenting on all abominations which had occurred in past Jewish history; from the fall of Adam to the fall of the Hebrews in the 40-year desert, to the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in the year 585 B.C.—yes.
But Jesus’ Words are more than an accurate and truthful history lesson. Jesus is not just some wise and profound teacher and temporal miracle worker. Jesus is God in the flesh. Jesus is the Restorer of all creation. He is the Redeemer who buys back and purifies all that is abominable. He makes alive the dead; makes green the blackened; makes joyful the mournful; and makes brothers and sisters out of dead corpses. He THE Holy One makes holy ones!
The real Abomination is that which denies Jesus and which spurns His gifts—His Person and His Work…period.
Adam was abominable when he chose himself, the creature over and against the loving Lord—His Creator. The result of his attempted murder of God—really of Jesus—was banishment to the desolation of the wilderness of self; littered with dust, decay, thistles, death, and damnation. But The Savior saves—Jesus saves! The Lord would not let His children be plucked from His pierced palms.
Homosexual activity abominable—yes it is. But your fornication, adultery, divorce and pornography sins are equally abominable. Repent!
The fanatical Muslim and the secular Jew are abominable worshipping their false gods—yes they are. But your fanaticism for sports, entertainment, state-worship, politics, creature comforts and money—your breaking of the First Table is equally abominable. Repent!
The Abomination of Desolation; was it Antiochus IV Epiphanes (“god manifest”) in 167 B.C. (as Rabbinic tradition maintains) or was it Caesar Vespasian’s imperial Roman standards and flags (eagle emblazoned ensigns) placed in the Temple in 70 A.D. that was “the” Abomination of Desolation? The blessed Saint John Chrysostom thought the armies of Rome themselves encircling Jerusalem was the Abomination—certainly when they were finished—there was naught but desolation.
Yes, yes, and yes. These scripturally referenced idols were true desolating sacrileges. The very holy place where the Holy Trinity had marked Its + Presence (The Name of God making Holy), received blood sacrifices in a typological way in anticipation of The Paschal Lamb, the Throne of King David and the Holy of Holies tabernacling the Ark of the Covenant, was Holy, Sacred, set-apart and Gods. To have it vandalized by unclean (unbelieving) hands and blasphemed by pagans was horrible almost beyond description. But for the Jews, what was done away with? The rejectors of God’s Christ (Caiaphas’s descendents—the Pharisees and Sadducees) lost their temple sacrifices; their political identity and hegemony. But God’s New Israel lost nothing but an ancestral home—for their New Temple, their Blood Sacrifice, their Food and Forgiveness continued(s) in the Presence of the God/Man Christ crucified; wherever they are gathered by the Spirit around Jesus’ actual presence in Word and Eucharist. “For wheresoever the carcass [the body] is there will the eagles be gathered together.”
Dear Saints, the desolating sacrilege is not that which destroys buildings, treasures, homes, and lives (“…take they our life, goods, fame, child, and wife”). The Abomination of Desolation is even more than sin—as abominable and desolate as sin is. Repent! The Abomination is to deny, refuse, malign, water-down (synergize) Jesus Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness of sins. The Abomination attacks and tries to destroy the Gospel itself! Justification by Grace through Faith in Christ—the free gift of forgiveness of your sins by Jesus’ life, sacrificial death, resurrection, and Bodily Presence in Word, Water, and Supper—and not of works, lest no one can boast…when THIS is attacked, not by the Roman Legions or the bully boys of Herod, but by works-righteous synergists be they Papists, Sectarian Zwinglians and their ilk, or your own in-bred crypto Pharisee and pompous Sadducee) there is the Abomination that spits on Jesus, dresses Him with Thorns, and mocks His Person and Work. Repent!
Fight and repudiate (i.e. believe, teach and confess) against the Pope and the Protestant when that fight comes to you. But seek not quixotic quests when the real and immediate battle is in and with you. When Luther says “Repent” it’s because The Baptizer and the Christ say Repent! Drown the old-Adam daily, and while wringing its scaly neck in the flood from the Font + and the Tree, drown your own old Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus, Caesar and Pope Leo while you’re at it.
Do not come down from the housetop for mammon. Affix your eyes to the Holy Crucifix where the Lamb was lifted up to bleed, suffer and die for you the abominable. He was made abominable for you that you might never be desolate but rather be surrounded in this Family, this Garden, and this Wedding Feast. You wear and are marked by Living Crucifix, Baptized + in that which you hear and will soon taste. Your sins are forgiven in Jesus’ Name!
In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost