Thursday within the Octave of Easter

“... whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.” (Acts of the Apostles 3:21)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“Everything endowed with reason will come under one law. If we must refer to this subject, it will be with great brevity. The Stoics, indeed, hold that, when the strongest of the elements prevails, all things shall be turned into fire. But our belief is that the Word will prevail over the entire rational creation and change every soul into his own perfection. In this state all, by the mere exercise of his power, will choose what he desires and obtain what he chooses. For although, in the diseases and wounds of the body, there are some which no medical skill can cure, yet we hold that in the mind there is no evil so strong that it may not be overcome by the supreme Word and God. For stronger than all the evils in the soul is the Word and the healing power that dwells in him. This healing he applies, according to the will of God, to everything. The consummation of all things is the destruction of evil, although as to the question whether it shall be so destroyed that it can never anywhere arise again, it is beyond our present purpose to say. Many things are said obscurely in the prophecies on the total destruction of evil and the restoration to righteousness of every soul; but it will be enough for our present purpose to quote the following passage from Zephaniah: “Prepare and rise early; all the gleanings of their vineyards are destroyed. Therefore wait upon me, says the Lord, on the day that I rise up for a testimony. For my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kings, to pour upon them my indignation, even all my fierce anger. For all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I bring about a transformation of pure language among the people, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring my offering. In that day you will not be ashamed for all your sinful deeds of transgression against me. For then I will take away out of your midst them that rejoice in your pride; and you will be haughty no more because of my holy mountain. I will also leave in your midst an afflicted and poor people, and they will trust in the name of the Lord. The remnant of Israel will not commit iniquity nor speak lies. Neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth, for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.” (Against Celsus, 8)

O God,
who have united the many nations
in confessing your name,
grant that those reborn in the font of Baptism
may be one in the faith of their hearts
and the homage of their deeds.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord is risen. Alleluia!
He is risen, indeed. Alleluia!

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen