Tuesday’s Blood Red Moon

News: Commentary
by Fr. Paul John Kalchik  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  November 7, 2022   

'Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord'

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On Tuesday, Nov. 8, we will have a total lunar eclipse that will make the moon appear blood red.

News of atomic warfare stirs fear

Doomsday prognosticators are seeing in this red moon a sign that the world's end is imminent. "The red moon signifies the coming apocalypse," some are saying

To me, the appearance of the red moon in the heavens, although noteworthy, is not so much a sign of the world's end as it is a sign of the order and beauty in God's creation. Like a well-tooled clock, the stars, sun and moon move in an orderly way in the heavens. And every once in a while, we are given a brief but especially beautiful vision of this order in the heavens.

Granted, it's easy to connect the sign of the blood moon with recent chatter about nuclear war and dirty bombs in the ongoing war in Ukraine heralding the world's end.

As with people throughout the world, I've been disturbed to my marrow about the protracted war between Russia and Ukraine and I have made it a regular intention at my daily Masses. "May God intervene and bring this war to a peaceful end, and may no one ever employ nuclear warheads or dirty bombs," I pray.

The moon is a sign of order and beauty in God's creation.

It's easy to read into Scripture suggestions of nuclear apocalypse. Take the book of Joel, for example: 

Blow the horn in Zion, sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming! Yes, it approaches, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of thick clouds! Like dawn spreading over the mountains, a vast and mighty army! Nothing like it has ever happened in ages past, nor will the future hold anything like it, even to the most distant generations. Before it, fire devours, behind it flame scorches. The land before it is like the garden of Eden, and behind it, a desolate wilderness; from it nothing escapes. Their appearance is that of horses; like war horses they run. Like the rumble of chariots they hurtle across mountaintops; like the crackling of fiery flames devouring stubble. (Joel 2:1–5)

Apocalyptic literature is indeed scary and not light reading, by any means. I would encourage those inclined to read these Scriptures not to get overly caught up in the doomsday imagery used by the authors.

For example, the author of the book of Revelation did his best to describe the visions he experienced. Our musings on these passages, centuries later, more often than not, get caught up in the apocalyptic metaphors and don't take to heart the main story line. 

We have all heard the fearful reactions to the dramatic imagery. There's: "So-and-so is the Antichrist. Our Lord's Second Coming must be imminent." And there's: "Those microchips people are getting implanted in Sweden are the mark of the beast." And then there's: "The Four Horsemen have been let loose upon the world!"

News Report: Mark of the Beast?

It's unfortunate so many good people get caught up in the apocalyptic imagery and miss the principal point of the Scriptures, which is to repent and make it right with God before it is too late.

A close reading of the book of Joel reveals the main theme of repentance in the book of Revelation:

Yet even now — oracle of the Lord — return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and relenting in punishment. (Joel 2:12–13)

It's easy to get riled up during the final weeks of the liturgical year when the readings consist of selections from apocalyptic literature focusing on the end times.

Take to heart the daily Mass readings

But remember, the end times signify when the fallen world will come to its end and Our Lord will gloriously return. The readings for daily Masses most reassuringly point to Our Lord God and His redemption of humanity through Jesus.

So as we go through the Masses for this last month of the Church year, take to heart the primary message from the apocalyptic passages: Repent from all sin and draw close to the Lord. Tomorrow may never come, so make it right today.

Think about it: It hardly makes sense for a man to preoccupy himself with so-and-so being the Antichrist when at that man's final judgment he will not be judged for his knowledge of this or that apocalyptic prediction but for his own actions.

Indeed, another theme in the apocalyptic passages is the final judgment of all souls. These passages remind us of this forthcoming event and must prompt us to offer atonement for our sins and the sins of others.

The visionaries of Fatima, as well as St. Faustina, were given the grace to see the pits of Hell, where those souls who do not repent are doomed.

In the aftermath of these visions of Hell, the seers were so moved, they spent the remainder of their lives offering up sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. As we wrap up the Church year this November, remember their holy example, and pray and fast for the conversion of sinners.

Repent from all sin and draw close to the Lord.

Let us prayerfully read and reflect upon the apocalyptic passages we have for our Masses these next couple of weeks. But let us refrain from idle fearmongering that ordains people as "antichrists" or sees in random media reports the "mark of the beast." This kind of behavior is akin to gossip and doesn't align with our Faith.

Despite the temptation, resist seeing in blood red moons, or blue moons for that matter, divine portents. The heavens reflect the beauty and grandeur of God's creation — that's all. The moon in the night sky is not a message board for an elite few who supposedly know how to read the heavens.

God speaks directly to every man if he wishes to open his heart to Him. So, open your heart now to hear God and make it right with Him.

--- Campaign 31877 ---


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