Chapter 16 of Revelation is not for the faint of heart, nor for those of arrogant heart, for it details, albeit replete with symbolism but prophetically nonetheless, what will – not might but will – befall humanity if we fail to repent and change our ways: the experiences of Divine Justice Wrath culminating in the battle between evil and good, light and darkness, life and death in the place called Armageddon.
A reader after the last post asked me to explain why I think “we could have another world war in these times”.
There are two reasons, multi-layered: 1] Political cowardice and 2] Universal/Personal sin.
1] Political Cowardice:
In the late thirties in the lead up to Hitler’s invasion of Poland, Mussolini’s aggression in Africa, Japan’s in China and eventually at Pearl Harbour, political leaders among the former allies from WWI were great at issuing statements, ‘red lines’ if you will while progressively the Axis Powers, led by Hitler, slaughtered their own people and moved aggressively, again with much loss of life, against their neighbours.
Stalin’s Soviet Empire, until turned against by Hitler, took as much as possible while sending hundreds of thousands of people to the Gulag and earlier starving millions of Ukrainians.
When Hitler sent his armies into places such as Rhineland, in violation of the Versailles Treaty, crossing a line not unlike the ‘red line’ Syria crossed, the political cowardice of world leaders simply emboldened Hitler: so Austria and the Sudetenland were taken over – world leaders, lead by Chamberlain, caved in.
Obama caved on Syria, he and most G7 leaders, [only the Prime Minister of Canada has actually gone to Kiev to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine], are less than definitive, dare I say powerful, in their stand against the bully Putin.
This weak response, to date, is little by little emboldening others throughout the world who lust after the land, resources, and people in their neighbourhood.
When the Soviets tried to starve West Berlin into submission the Allies reacted and flew in needed supplies clearly telling the Soviets to back off.
Under the first President Bush when Kuwait was invaded a coalition of nations, including Arab countries, quickly came together and dealt with the aggressor and liberated Kuwait.
No one wants another world war but we could have one by attrition in the sense that allowing Putin/Russia to seize and hold onto the Crimea not only will embolden Putin to grab more but tells the Iranians and North Koreans, no worries if you develop nuclear weapons, or if by use of ‘conventional’ force you Iran take over Iraq or you North Korea take over the South – no worries, we G7 and others will throw our verbal temper tantrums, but no worries que sera, sera.
Once Obama backed down when Syria crossed the red line and used chemical weapons on its own people this was not only for the President but for the world a Munich/Chamberlain moment.
I believe we have very little time to reverse that cowardice before Putin/Russia, at least with conventional arms, starts shooting, trying to gobble up more of former soviet republics or somewhere else in the world one nation starts shooting against another.
Soft sanction diplomacy in the late 30’s was the gateway to the blitzkrieg that destroyed Poland and most of Europe and fired up the ovens of the death camps, enabled the destruction of Pearl Harbour, the rape of Nanking and the use of atomic weapons.
We stand on the cliff’s edge.
2] Universal/Personal sin:
Just the other day Pope Francis, speaking directly to the Mafia, warned them: "This life that you live now won't give you pleasure. It won't give you joy or happiness……Blood-stained money, blood-stained power, you can't bring it with you to your next life. Repent. There's still time to not end up in hell, which is what awaits you if you continue on this path."
Actually those words apply to any nation, clan, tribe, family, individual who puts self before all else.
Increasingly our nations are morally bankrupt, our political leaders, on the national/local level, reveal a power-hungry cowardice that caters to noisy self-interest groups and blithely agree to legislative pernicious assaults on the unborn, marriage, family life, faith life, both in the public square and privately, seeing it as justifiable to allow government agencies to become ever more powerful and intrusive.
Leaders are supposed to lead but increasingly our leaders follow, based on poll-taking, which is often of dubious provenance.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us the truth that: Sin is present in human history; any attempt to ignore it or to give this dark reality other names would be futile. To try to understand what sin is, one must first recognize the profound relation of man to God, for only in this relationship is the evil of sin unmasked in its true identity as humanity’s rejection of God and opposition to Him, even as it continues to weigh heavy on human life and history.
Thus when we try and explain sin away, as is so common today by reducing everything to physco-babble, chemical imbalance excuses [granted sometimes mental or physical unchosen conditions are at play] is to totally chose blindness to the reality of sin as a will choice and thus ignore the fact:…that man has a wounded nature inclined to evil… [which]…gives rise to serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social action and morals. 
When a nation such as Russia invades, intimidates, captures other human beings this is sin of commission.
When other nations do nothing, or not enough to protect and rescue our brothers and sisters, this is the sin of omission akin to that committed by those who walked by the beaten man in the ditch. [Lk.10:29-37]
All sin, weather committed alone or with others on the personal/universal level, is fundamentally to chose not to love authentically God, other, self.
Thus Jesus, in detailing the Last Judgment, makes the emphasis on concrete acts of love for other, which reveal authentic love of God and self.
This is also how nations shall be judged.
These are the “I was” teachings, the “and you” teachings, as found in Matthew 25: 31-46.
“I was hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick, in prison.”
Jesus in the peoples of North Korea hungers for food and freedom from oppression, in the homeless of our cities for food and shelter, acceptance as persons; Jesus in the peoples of so many countries thirsts for drinkable clean water, water to irrigate the land, in abused women and children thirsts for dignity and an end to the horror of abuse; Jesus in the peoples of the refugee and migrant camps of the world experiences the pain and rejection of being a stranger seeking welcome in a homeland, and in the lonely of this world, in the discriminated against Jesus is the stranger seeking acceptance as a real person; Jesus experiences the naked vulnerability and horrors of human beings ensnared in human trafficking, living in places controlled by drug lords, being a bullied child in school; Jesus from the concentration camps of North Korea, to the isolation of Gitmo, to the reality of a prison cell occupied by actual criminals is all merciful and, having Himself been a prisoner, tortured and executed, denies solidarity with no one, irrespective of the crime, such as the thieves crucified with Him, one of whom repented and received fullness of mercy. [Lk.23: 39-43]
All sin begins as a personal choice NOT to love.
All goodness begins as a personal choice TO love.
National sin, social sin, group sin, is the common cause of individual sinners to engage together in evil which spreads, poisons, destroys with the speed of a computer virus and the lethality of Ebola.
National goodness, social goodness, communal goodness is the common cause of actual human persons in solidarity of love feeding, giving to drink, welcoming, clothing with dignity, healing, visiting and faster than any computer virus, more definitively than can be fully grasped, overcomes the darkness of indifference, hatred, fear, cowardice, hesitation by overwhelming with Christ’s own love all evil and this is true repentance, true turning away from the shadows of death into the life of the Risen One.