Archives > The Time Has Come
The Time Has Come
- by Dr. Robert Moynihan, Editor, Inside the Vatican
(Note: The following text is the editorial for the November
issue of Inside the Vatican magazine, which is available
“The Holy Eucharist is the first, most
important, and greatest miracle of Christ. All the other Gospel
miracles are secondary.” -- St. Ambrose of Optina
"The Seraph could not touch the fire's coal with his
fingers, but just brought it close to Isaiah's mouth: the
Seraph did not hold it, Isaiah did not consume it, but us
our Lord has allowed to do both." -- St. Ephraim the
"How often is the holy sacrament of Christ's Presence
abused, how often must he enter empty and evil hearts!...
How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those
who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him!...
All this is present in his Passion. His betrayal by his disciples,
their unworthy reception of his Body and Blood, is certainly
the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer." -- Cardinal
Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), Good Friday Via
Crucis Meditation, March 25, 2005
"And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the
temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in
the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers,
and the seats of them that sold doves... And he taught, saying
unto them, "Is it not written, My house shall be called
of all nations the house of prayer" But ye have made
it a den of thieves." And the scribes and chief priests
heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they
feared him." -- Mark, 11:15-18
"What miserable frauds you are, you scribes and Pharisees!
You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, while the inside
is full of greed and self-indulgence... Alas for you, you
hypocritical scribes and Pharisees! You are like white-washed
tombs, which look fine on the outside but inside are full
of dead men's bones and all kinds of rottenness. For you appear
like good men on the outside " but inside you are a mass
of pretence and wickedness." -- Matthew, 23:25-28
In this [November, 2005] issue of Inside the Vatican our
cover photo is a picture of one of the most holy places in
the Christian tradition: the "Upper Room" in Jerusalem
where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper. The lonely cat in
the photo happened to pass across the room just as our photographer
visited the Cenacle. We found the empty room a striking image
of the desolation of that holy place -- and of the Church's
That Last Supper came just days after Jesus picked up a whip,
overturned tables, and chased the money-changers out of the
Temple, crying, "My house shall be called a house of
prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves." (Mark
11:17) Jesus was filled with righteous wrath (as he was when
he spoke of those who corrupt young children, crying out that
it would be better for them if they had a millstone put around
their necks and were cast into the depths of the sea).
Holy Thursday, the Last Supper, the first Eucharist, came
just after this. Then Jesus was executed in the most humiliating
way: following a mock coronation with thorns, a pitiless scourging,
and a painful journey through the streets of the city carrying
a massive beam of wood, on a criminal's cross.
So this is the setting for the last days of the life of Jesus:
the Temple precincts, where he raised a whip in his zeal for
God's house; the Upper Room, where he instituted the Eucharist,
the mysterium fidei (mystery of faith), in which
his own life, his very nature, entered into the bread and
wine, and so into those who shared that food; and the Via
Crucis, the "Way of the Cross," which led to his
It was reported in Rome in mid-October that Pope Benedict
has already written his first encyclical, that the topic is
the personal relationship of individual believers with Jesus
Christ, and that the publication date will be December 8,
Feast of the Immaculate Conception. If true, this means that
Benedict will use his first great "teaching moment"
to direct the attention of all Catholics to the most central
truth of the Christian faith: that to live fully is to be
in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, to "put
on" Christ, to be "filled with Christ's Spirit"...
to "become Christ." And it is precisely this process
of "putting on Christ," of "becoming Christ,"
of "Christification" which is the essential purpose
of that Christian community we call the One, Holy, Catholic
and Apostolic Church.
But what if the men and women of the Church forget their
mission? What if they -- and here each one of us has to look
into the mirror -- become like the scribes and Pharisees,
"whited sepulchers"? What if they turn the Father's
house into a "den of thieves"? Then the house must
If one considers the life of Christ, one can see that his
zeal for his Father's house led directly to his arrest and
execution: "And the scribes and chief priests heard it,
and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him."
Benedict XVI, the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ
on earth, a man of brilliant intellect and profound holiness
whom it has been our privilege to come to know over 20 years,
has been almost silent for six months now. Throughout the
Roman Curia, rumors are circulating about what decisions Benedict
will announce. But no one knows what he is planning. He has
kept his own counsel.
In this context, there is one thing the Catholic faithful
of the world need to do, immediately and urgently: they must
pray for Pope Benedict. Pray for his intentions. Pray that
he be granted the prudence, wisdom, and courage to cleanse
the Church as she urgently needs to be cleansed. And let him
know you are praying for him. He needs your prayers and support.
Inside The Vatican (ISSN 1068-8579) is a Catholic news magazine, published monthly except July
and September, with occasional special supplements.