Sunday, November 27, 2016

The End Is Sure To Come

And He shall come to judge the living and the dead
1st Sunday of Advent A (November 27, 2016)

Jesus, I trust in you!

There is nothing wrong with eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. And yet, the people who did these things perished at the time of Noah when they were swept away by the great flood. Why did they perish? Eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage are affairs that concern the present moment. We eat and drink, marry and are given in marriage in order to satisfy biological needs. Without eating and drinking, we will not survive. Without marriage, the human species will not survive. Both are necessary in order to preserve present human existence. And there is nothing wrong with concern for survival. There is nothing wrong with being concerned with the present. However, in doing so, we should not forget about preparing for the inevitable future. This future goes beyond our retirement. The future which the Lord wants us to prepare for is the coming of the Son of Man: “Stay awake! You must be prepared for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

We usually do not want to talk about the end. We refuse to talk about death. We refuse to talk about the end of the world. Thinking of these things scares us. We would rather concern ourselves with present needs than think of what will happen at the end of both our lives and of the history of the world. And yet, we must think of the end because it is inevitable. All movies press towards an ending. In like manner, all history presses towards the end which is the 2nd coming of Christ. He will surely come and therefore we must be prepared both spiritually and morally for his coming. If we do not prepare for him, we will lose everything as people lose what they have to the thief that comes in the middle of the night or to the flood that rages unexpectedly. Because we do not know the day nor the hour of Christ’s inevitable coming, we must not postpone our conversion. We must not procrastinate our repentance.

St. Paul tells us that there is a sense of urgency in preparing for the 2nd coming of the Lord because “salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced and the day is near.” He means that time is slowly advancing and drawing close towards that inevitable end. Therefore, time is running out. The new liturgical year that we are entering into this day brings us one year closer towards that day and hour when the Lord will come. Therefore, we do not have much time left. The night is advancing towards the day when all shall be revealed before the Son of Man, the judge of the living and the dead. Therefore, we should cast off the works of darkness because these will be revealed to all at the coming of Christ: our orgies and drunkenness, our promiscuity and lust, our rivalry and jealousy. The desires of the flesh will simply shame us on judgment day. Therefore, “let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day.” Let us be engaged in things that we will not be ashamed of on the day of judgment. “In the presence of Christ, who is the Truth itself, the truth of each man’s relationship with God will be laid bare. The Last Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person had done or failed to do during his earthly life.” (CCC, 1039)

And so, “let us climb the Lord’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways and we may walk in his paths.” Let us spend the remaining time left doing what is right and just. “The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory…through his Son Jesus, (the Father) will pronounce the final word on all history…The Last Judgment will reveal that God’s justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God’s love is stronger than death.”(CCC, 1040) “The lesson of the Last Judgment calls men to conversion while God is still giving them ‘the acceptable time…the day of salvation.’ It inspires a holy fear of God and commits them to the justice of the Kingdom of God. It proclaims ‘the blessed hope’ of the Lord’s return, when he will come ‘to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled in all who have believed.’” (CCC, 1041) Therefore, let us not waste time. Let us go rejoicing to the House of the Lord. Let us walk in the light of the Lord!

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!