Your bone and your flesh

Christ the King

Greetings on this the The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Readings: 2 Sm 5:1-3; Ps 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5; Col 1:12-20; Lk 23:35-43
Notes: We have arrived to our Solemn celebration!

Christ is King!
Of all the things we face in life and in common the sentence of death, we have faith in the divine, hope from the divine and the love of the divine. Our King! Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh he looks upon us.

God deigned to become one like us that He might be our King.
Not that he needed us but loved us that we might know him as like us.

Returning us to the first words Adam ever spoke worthy to be written down:

The man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of man this one has been taken.” (Gen 2:23).

Advent approaches.
Bethlehem beacons.
The child.
The King.

Serving at the VAMC today. Today makes the end of my one-year sabbatical. In fact, I worked through it due to the continued international COVID crisis. Nevertheless, I traveled around the world. Walked a good part of it.

And in all of it, the presence of the King.
Everywhere I went I exclaimed: Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!

First reading
Here we are, your bone and your flesh.

Responsorial Psalm
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

I rejoiced because they said to me, “We will go up to the house of the LORD.” And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem.

Second reading
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

He is the head of the body, the church.

He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent.

For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.

Alleluia Verse
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!

Gospel Portion
First words from ‘Adam’ ever recorded:

The man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of man this one has been taken.” (Gen 2:23).

The Last Ask to Jesus from ‘Adam’ recorded:

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Jesus, Christ, King.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

The Merging of Horizons

Greetings on this the Saturday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Rv 11:4-12; PS 144:1, 2, 9-10; Lk 20:27-40
Notes: The destruction of Jerusalem was terrifying. The power of God is mightier.

Traditional memory of Egypt, Sodom and Babylon receive new reflection and insights in the Book of Revelations. In fact, all of the historical memory of Abraham, Lot, Moses, Joshua, Babylon, Egypt, Emperor Nero, and Antiochus IV Epiphanes (to name but a few) are reengaged in a massive historical recapitulation of experience.

That is to say, the then present time of John is given new insight by and from the past.
The revelation of Jesus Christ, Priest and King, [on earth/risen] and then via the Holy Spirit [present], brings new hope and a new horizon. These together, we reformulate what we know and can rely upon.

This is called The Merging of Horizons.

Time and Future

  • What has been.
  • What is now.
  • What will be.

The Merging of Horizons

History and the future are recalibrated based on the current time, the current understanding and the reengagement of the past. Harmonizing to the truth and discarding poorly formed beliefs.

John’s conclusions

  • We survived.
  • We are loved.
  • We will thrive.
  • We will rise again.
  • The resurrection has always been the promised final end regardless of the life’s experience.
  • God has conquered death, principalities and powers.

The Merging of Horizons

This is the meaning of: (resurrection)
But after the three and a half days, a breath of life from God entered them. When they stood on their feet, great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, “Come up here.” So they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies looked on.

This is the meaning of: (resurrection)
That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

First reading
The Two Witnesses.
Here are my two witnesses:
These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.

The olive trees refer to Zerubbabel and Joshua.
The two lampstands: the martyrs who stand in the presence of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

Alleluia Verse
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.

Gospel Portion
That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” Some of the scribes said in reply, “Teacher, you have answered well.” And they no longer dared to ask him anything.

Recalibrate your horizon.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

You in turn shall save your own life

Greetings on this the Friday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: RV 10:8-11; PS 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131; LK 19:45-48
Notes: End the old year and start the new year with the Rite of Reconciliation.

First reading
The Angel with the Small Scroll.

He said to me, “Take and swallow it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will taste as sweet as honey.”

The small scroll was sweet because it predicted the final victory of God’s people; it was sour because it also announced their sufferings. Cf. Ez 3:1–3. (NABRE, comment on verse).

Reconciliation is similar.

  • It is a sour experience in the way of dealing with our own sin.
  • It is sweet as honey because it refreshes you in new life.

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/franciscan-spirit-blog/sacrament-of-reconciliation

We share a common need to move forward spiritually. Prophesy is one vehicle of helping. Friendship helps too.

You help me.
I help you.

See The Prophet as Sentinel (a/k/a warning).
https://bible.usccb.org/bible/ezekiel/3?17=#33003017
Ez 3:17-21.

Responsorial Psalm
How sweet to my taste is your promise!

Alleluia Verse
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.

Gospel Portion
The Cleansing of the Temple.

You are his temple in that your soul is where G-d dwells.

Then Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.’”

Let’s cleanse our temple to receive him.
Christ, the King of the Universe, wishes to dwell within us as guest.

Advent 2023 approaches

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

What makes for peace

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious
Readings: RV 5:1-10; PS 149:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6A AND 9B; LK 19:41-44
Notes: What makes for peace is the same question as Who can open the seals of the scroll?

Scroll

  • The promised gift of the Father (who made us and loves us).
  • The Lamb who was slain (who is worthy to give the gift as redeemer).
  • The gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones (who asks for the gift for one and all).

Recommended author, Dr Scott Hahn: https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/scott-hahn/196754/

First reading
Do not weep.
The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed, enabling him to open the scroll with its seven seals.

Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones.
They sang a new hymn:

“Worthy are you to receive the scroll and break open its seals, for you were slain and with your Blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on earth.”

Responsorial Psalm
The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.

Alleluia Verse
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Gospel Portion
The Lament for Jerusalem.
As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying:

If this day you only knew what makes for peace.
Recognize the time of your visitation!

You

  • His friend, Lazarus died, and Jesus wept (Jn 11:35).
  • And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” (Jn 11:43).
  • So the people said, “See how he loved him.” (Jn 11:36).

All of Us

  • His community disowned him, and As he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it (Lk 19:41).
  • When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit (Jn 19:30).
  • So the elders said, With your Blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on earth (Rev 5:9b).

This, this is peace:

  1. Father’s Divine Gift of Love.
  2. Lamb – Divine response to sin.
  3. Prayer – Asking for the gift.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Make Some Coin

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Rv 4:1-11; PS 150:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6; Lk 19:11-28
Notes: Today is the last teaching from Jesus while traveling as he nears Jerusalem.

  • They thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately.
  • Using the Parable of the Ten Gold Coins, Jesus teaches that is not on his way to Jerusalem to receive the kingly power; for that, he must go away and only after returning from the distant country (a reference to the parousia) will reward and judgment take place (NABRE, comment on parable).

The phrase Make Some Coin is intended to use modern slang to assert what Jesus is saying:

Do what is commanded of you while I am away.

Yes, I will come as King and bring reward or judgment depending on your efforts.

The effort in this case is the bringing about right relation between God and Man and between men. I have given you all you need to do your tasks. You have the coin (power, authority, capacity, training). Make coin. The gifts given you are to be shared. I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.

First reading
“Worthy are you, Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; because of your will they came to be and were created.”

Responsorial Psalm
Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!

Alleluia Verse
I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.

Gospel Portion

Jesus taught them this parable, The Parable of the Ten Gold Coins.

He replied, ‘I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.’”

After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Half and Four

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Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: RV 3:1-6, 14-22; PS 15:2-3A, 3BC-4AB, 5; LK 19:1-10
Notes: Zacchaeus personalizes the ‘missing the mark’ for one and the All. The careful reflection of Zacchaeus brings about the right response. Without reflection, the churches will double-down on the mistakes.

  • Unpacking the first reading challenges the soul and how we act as community.
  • Unpacking the gospel portion challenges the soul on how we are personally.

First reading
“‘Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Of Sardis and Laodicea.

Repent:

  • Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent.
  • Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent.

Of:

  • “I know your works, that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
  • So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
  • For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’ and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

How:

  • Be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
  • Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it.
  • I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed, and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see.

Eternal relation:

  • The victor will thus be dressed in white, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name in the presence of my Father and of his angels.
  • I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne.

Responsorial Psalm
I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.

Alleluia Verse
God loved us, and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

Gospel Portion
Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to Zacchaeus.

Repent:

Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”

Of:

Behold. Half and Four.

How:

But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.”

Eternal relation:

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

First Love Forever Love

Greetings on this the Monday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: RV 1:1-4; 2:1-5; PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6; LK 18:35-43
Notes: We seem to fall into ingratitude and contempt of love as a matter of course. It is a problem.

Of course, some never have this problem, thanks God! But for many of us, we do, at least we run into the possibility of it.

Our First Love is bruised by the contempt of the familiar. We no doubt have examples in our own lives. An old example. Happily, the people recovered their senses and restored love.

So the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food (Num 21:5)!

Before the Mass prayer

The priest, deacon and altar servers pray together:

Father in Heaven, your Son, Jesus Christ, showed his love for you by serving his needy brothers and sisters.
I now ask you to give me your help as I serve you and your people.

Open my mouth to praise you in word and song.
Open my ears to hear your word.
Open my hands to do your work well.

Take from my heart all evil and distracting thoughts.

Help me to know what I should do and do it well.
Help me to serve reverently at your holy altar, and so give you praise and glory, now and forever.
Amen.

First reading
Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first.

Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

We must always approach Holiness with humility and loving purpose.

Responsorial Psalm
Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life (Rev. 2:17).

Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night.

Alleluia Verse
I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.

Gospel Portion
The Healing of the Blind Beggar.

First Love.

Forever Love.

He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me! “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, please let me see.” Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.” He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

First Love.
Forever love.

After Mass Prayer

The priest, deacon and altar servers pray together:

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the eternal High Priest.

You lead all your saints in heaven and your people on earth in praising God, our Father.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for letting me come before your altar, so that, with your help, I can praise my Father in heaven as his server.

Help me to find joy in serving at your altar.
Help me to find gladness in knowing and doing your will in all things.

Glory to you, Lord Jesus, and to the Father and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.

Amen

Our Prayer

May Jesus ever be my First Love and my Forever Love.

May I not bruise love for my ego, falsity or gain.

May all human love in my life be nurtured and cared for in the same way.

Amen.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Through the Mist

Greetings on this the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Mal 3:19-20a; Ps 98:5-6, 7-8, 9; 2 Thes 3:7-12; Lk 21:5-19
Notes: We near Christ the King Sunday.

Recurring themes of:

  • Persistence in prayer (Saturday).
  • Perseverance in hope (Sunday).

Personal note: Happy Birthday, Barry! We share the same birthday and faith in Christ!!

In the Mist
My daily walk this morning was through a heavy fog-mist. It was really beautiful, the fog.

Line of sight is reduced but for 50 yards.
Beyond that, the horizon is shrouded in a mist.

No matter how far or fast I walk, the distance I can see remained about the same. Always a mist in the distance.

Always, the future is shrouded in a mist.

Pilgrimage Mist
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to drive from Mexico Ciy to Frontera Corozal passing through the Izta-Popo Zoquiapan National Park as a part of a larger pilgrimage journey. One section through the mountains has such dense fog that I literally could not see a thing in front of me. I trusted the driver in the vehicle ahead of me. His tail lights were my only guide. If he doesn’t go off the mountian side, then neither will I.

Hope through Mist

  • But as it is written: “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,” this God has revealed to us through the Spirit (1 Cor 2:9-10a).
  • For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.(2 Cor 4:17-18).
  • Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1).

Today and Forever

  • Saturday, we were encouraged to be persistent in prayer trusting in the Lord in matters of justice (big and small).
  • Sunday, we are encouraged to persevere to secure our lives for eternity.

Dense Fog!

  • You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death.
  • You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.

Obviously, there is an apparent contradiction here. You cannot be put to death and also say not a hair on your head will be destroyed.

Or can you(?), through the Mist, see the double meaning?

Mist phrases

  • Not a hair on your head will be destroyed. On Divine Protection.
  • For you cannot make a single hair white or black (Matt 5:36b). On Worry.

These are describing the permanence and reliability of the love of God even in the need to persevere and persist.

  • You are who you are, how you are made, and the divine plan for you.
  • Your essence and importance to the Lord cannot change.
  • Your “hair” is a gift from God. It is neither subject to destruction nor to worry.
  • Your destiny is a gift from God.

Just follow the taillights.

First reading
But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

Second reading
Brothers and sisters: You know how one must imitate us.

On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day we worked, so as not to burden any of you.

Rather, we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you, so that you might imitate us.

  • Persistence in prayer.
  • Perseverance in hope.

Follow the taillights.

Alleluia Verse
Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.

Gospel Portion
The temple will be destroyed.
The faith shaken by persecution and oppression.

By your perseverance you will secure your lives.
Follow the taillights.

Exodus Mist
The LORD preceded them, in the daytime by means of a column of cloud to show them the way, and at night by means of a column of fire to give them light. Thus they could travel both day and night. Neither the column of cloud by day nor the column of fire by night ever left its place in front of the people (Ex 13:21-22).

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Before they call, I will answer

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Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr
Readings: 3 JN 5-8; PS 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6; LK 18:1-8
Notes: In today’s gospel portion Jesus uses a parable to answer two questions.

The first question is: how do I secure justice?

The Parable of the Persistent Widow – the widow persistently calls for justice even from an unjust judge. In her persistence she is given her desire, if not for the best of reasons (justice) but for the comfort reason (annoyance).

The first answer is: The necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.

He uses the rhetorical question format to reassure.

  1. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?
  2. Will he be slow to answer them?

The second question is: When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?

A basic tenet of theology is that the Lord capable and faithful to his promise.
Our difficulty is discerning these things even in the times (sometimes a long time) when we think are prayers are unanswered.

I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.

  • God is faithful and we have faith in his faithfulness.
  • God is just and we have faith in his justice.
  • God is merciful and we have faith in his mercy.
  • God is kind and we have faith in his kindness.
  • God is patient and we have faith in his patience.

The second answer is: Pray each time as if the first time. Pray as if the solution is already on the way.

Before they call, I will answer; while they are yet speaking, I will hear (Isa 65:24).

Our persistent prayer is a reminder to us he knows, sees and will respond.
Even when we simply do not understand.

For the Unjust Judge
For the sake of my name I restrain my anger, for the sake of my renown I hold it back from you, lest I destroy you (Isa 48:9).

For the Suffering
For the vision is a witness for the appointed time, a testimony to the end; it will not disappoint. If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late (Hab 2:3).

For Both
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9).

Nice reflection on perseverance: https://www.fatherduffy.com/never-give-up-2/
Franciscan summary on Saint Josaphat: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-josaphat

First reading
Please help them in a way worthy of God to continue their journey.

Responsorial Psalm
Blessed the man who fears the Lord.

Alleluia Verse
God has called us through the Gospel, to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel Portion
The Parable of the Persistent Widow.

Then he told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.

Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Progressive Perdition

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Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop
Readings: 2 JN 4-9; PS 119:1, 2, 10, 11, 17, 18; LK 17:26-37
Notes: The title of today’s homily is Progressive Perdition.

A friend of mine (who shares the same birthday as me) once commented, ‘You have the best titles but not always the best reflections.’ I admit, therefore, today’s title is a teaser!

For the short answer is this:
Progressive Perdition is for a Christian to fail to profess Christ and fail to act as Christ.

That is to say acting with the impetus of love. He did demand of his followers to obey his commandments. We who are disciples of Christ are obliged to walk like him. He was patient and kind to all those who do not know him.

As to all: He forced noone. He pleaded with everyone.

In no way should the social dilemma of today be construed as the topic of Jesus’ teaching.
The modern application of modernism (speaking of church teachings now by some in USA) is a farcical attempt to:

  1. Avoid difficult topics.
  2. Assert non-Christian theology (counter intuitive, yes. But most opponents of ‘modernism’ are, in fact, the modernists, disguised as faithful to Christ).

Read the reflection by the Franciscans below.

Saint Martin of Tours’ Story

A conscientious objector who wanted to be a monk; a monk who was maneuvered into being a bishop; a bishop who fought paganism as well as pleaded for mercy to heretics—such was Martin of Tours, one of the most popular of saints and one of the first not to be a martyr.

Reflection

Martin’s worry about cooperation with evil reminds us that almost nothing is either all black or all white. The saints are not creatures of another world: They face the same perplexing decisions that we do. Any decision of conscience always involves some risk. If we choose to go north, we may never know what would have happened had we gone east, west, or south. A hyper-cautious withdrawal from all perplexing situations is not the virtue of prudence; it is in fact, a bad decision, for “not to decide is to decide.”

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-martin-of-tours

First reading
[Chosen Lady:]

I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth just as we were commanded by the Father.

Let us love one another. For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning, in which you should walk.

Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.

Responsorial Psalm
Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

Blessed are they whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD.

Alleluia Verse
Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.

Gospel Portion
The Day of the Son of Man and Lessons from the Past.

Rapture is a heresy.
The description of one taken and one remains is a metaphoric expression of the story of Noah’s Ark.
Directly as Jesus indicated.

Noah’s Ark and Lot’s oppresson are the examples to use (Gen 6-8 and 2 Peter 2:4-10).

Those who do not seek their refuge in the Lord face certain, sudden and absolute destruction.

All other silliness aside.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry