Is the Pope just mentioning Revelation in the course of things or as a message?

         It's gotten hard, in the past month, to avoid signs of the times. From the quake in Seattle -- on Ash Wednesday -- to the Lenten outbreak of livestock epidemics (at a time when we are called to fast on meat), and now to the blackouts in California, God continues to tap us on the shoulders. His touch is becoming increasingly insistent. Is the Pope hinting also? We ask this for a simple reason: On February 15, Zenit News Service, which is based in Rome, commented that "never before, as in recent weeks, has the Pope quoted the Book of Apocalypse so much."

         We don't know the Pope's process of teaching at midweek audiences. Maybe he was just stepping through the New Testament with midweek audiences. But it seemed odd. Just a week later, as he was installing a record 44 new cardinals, he exhorted them to read "signs of the times" (this time referring to Matthew 16:3), made references to martyrdom, and again took up the theme of persecution a few days later. Soon after a report came out saying that worldwide 200 million Christians are in political systems that in some way could or do persecute them. Persecution is a key component of Revelation.

         Last week, at another general midweek audience, the Pope "again addressed a topic characterized by mystical overtones," reported Zenit. "The book he quoted most often was the Apocalypse. He described the struggle between good and evil, represented by the woman who gives birth to a son, and the raging dragon bent on destroying them. Both against the Church, and the Mother, of which she is a figure, is unleashed the monstrous devastating energy of violence, falsehood and injustice."  

         This came on the heels of a message in January from Medjugorje in which the Virgin referred to Satan as "without chains."

         Through the years John Paul has often repeated messages from Medjugorje -- knowingly or unknowingly. Either he is taken the messages to heart or receiving something himself. 

         Whatever the case, he is in a period of heavy teaching. We may never know if he is simply explicating Scripture, or subtly hinting of times to come to his billion sheep.

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