for Sunday, November 14, 2010
What is this day that is coming? Surely the reference is to the end of the
world or to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Most of us ordinary
Catholic Christians do not spend a great deal of time worrying about those
end times which are referred to in our Sacred Scriptures. There are groups
of Christians whose whole interest is in these things and there are others
who are always aware of the final coming of the Lord or thinking of the end
of time. Sometimes we find such witnesses right in the midst of our
Christian communities and are surprised by them.
When was the last time that you or I wondered if the world might be ending
soon? It is possible that it could, even from a scientific point of view.
We hear of movies about some straying asteroid crashing into our planet
earth and making it uninhabitable.
When was the last time that you or I thought about the final coming of
Christ? We are told in our Scriptures that some will still be alive on the
earth when He comes. Again, this could happen at any time.
The lesson, for all of us, is that we need to be prepared at all times.
Some of the saints have recognized that lots of us find it difficult to
remain centered in Christ, focused on Christ, prepared for His coming or
for the end of the world at all times. Various ways of helping us have
been worked out by various saints. In one tradition, the good Christian
should stop at the beginning of each hour and remember these spiritual
realities. In other religious and domestic houses, there was the practice
of praying the Divine Office, a series of prayers that occur throughout the
day, starting in the darkness before dawn and ending with the darkness of
night coming on.
The readings of this Sunday speak about the end of the world just as they
instruct us about the end of the Church year. We can say, at one level,
that whatever ends is really a new beginning for something else. When life
in this world ends, we have a new beginning in life eternalóbut only if we
have learned to trust the Lord and his loving presence with us in some way.
This is expressed poetically in the first reading from the Prophet
Malachi: But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice
with its healing rays.
The Second Letter to the Thessalonians tells us what is echoed in early
monasticism: if you find someone with virtue, imitate that person's
virtue. This also is a way to the Kingdom.
Luke's Gospel reminds us not to prepare a defense when we are accused
because God himself will give us wisdom in speaking that all our
adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. Even when we are handed
over by relatives and friends, not a hair on our head will be destroyed.
The lesson of all of this is to persevere in trusting our God, His love
and His presence. By this perseverance we shall secure our lives in the
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: