The first reading from the Book of Revelation sums up the end time with judgment and the fullness of God’s glory.
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Our faith clearly acknowledges that there will be a final judgment, and while this reality can bring a grim awareness of our sins, it can also serve as an inspiration to take hold of the gift of today and live our faith with conviction.
The Lord urges the people to not be led by deception and fear. Instead, we face these obstacles with the grace that comes God.
Study: Recall a couple of times in your life – when you were prepared and when you were caught off guard. How did if feel? What was the outcome?
Pray: Do you have unfinished business in your life? Take your challenges to prayer and ask the Lord for wisdom and courage.
Serve: Is there a broken or wounded relationship in your life? Perhaps you might make the first move to bring healing and reconciliation to the situation.
The first reading and the Gospel today are direct and to the point: there will be hardship and distress. Tribulation is part of the journey. Get ready!
And yet we can sometimes get caught in the (mistaken) sentiment that because we follow Jesus Christ everything is suppose to be sunshine and daisies. On the contrary – our faith puts struggle front and center, reminding us that we are called to be ready and prepared for the unexpected. Because just in case you were hoping for some secret sign from the Bible when the world will end, Jesus offers one of my all-time favorite lines of Sacred Scripture:
“But of that day or hour, no one knows,
neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32)
No one knows the hour….this is a very big deal. Remember these points:
- Difficulty, hardship, tribulation, and suffering are part of life.
- The unexpected happens! Deal with it.
- And we do not know the hour when our lives will be over…
So how do we live? The answer is simple – TODAY we speak and act so that if the Lord called us right now we would be ready. TODAY we say:
- “I’m sorry.”
- “I forgive you.”
- “I love you.”
- “Can I help you?”
- “Can you help me?”
We live our lives one day at a time – we can’t go back and we can’t go forward – it is only in the present moment that we can do and say. Thus, if we stay shackled to the past we can’t live today, and if we keep putting off what is needed we are wasting the moment we have. TODAY is our opportunity to address any unfinished business, to right wrongs and tell the people in our lives how we feel about them. In other words, today we squeeze out every opportunity we have to love the Lord and one another…
…for of that day or hour, no one knows.
Note: This post was first published on November 9, 2015.
“When will it end?” This common question has been with humanity since the dawn of time. When people ask Jesus, the Lord responds with two simple points of common sense:
- Do not be deceived
- Do not be afraid
Thus, we live each day as the precious gift it is, ready at a moment’s notice to step from this life to the next.
Photo Credit: Sunshine, 2007.
Life happens. Sometimes we can get caught up in the cycle of our routine, only to find that everything can change in the blink of an eye. Jesus reminds his disciples that the Son of Man will appear when least expected – empowering us to live each day as if it is our last, taking nothing for granted as we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord.
Jesus exhorts the disciples not to go looking for the Kingdom of God “here or there,” but recognize that in Him the Kingdom is already present. Our task? To live for Christ here on earth so that we are ready to greet him in Heaven.
Photo credit: “Head of Christ” by Richard Hook
Study: Consider a moment when you were held accountable to a task. What did it feel like?
Pray: Is there something that needs to be attended to in your life? Ask the Lord for guidance to carry it out.
Serve: How can offer support to someone who is working through a challenging task right now?
On this last weekend of Ordinary Time we have some interesting readings to consider.
- 1st Reading – Proverbs offers praiseworthy qualities of a good wife.
- Psalm – “Blessed are those who fear the Lord.”
- 2nd Reading – We remain sober and alert in the light of Jesus Christ.
- Gospel – Jesus tells the parable of the three servants entrusted with different amounts by their master, explaining what happened when the master returned home.
Our faith assures us that the world will one day come to an end. This is not meant to scare us, but rather to guide us with the knowledge that our lives have meaning and purpose as we prepare in this life for the life to come. Furthermore, when we die we understand that there will be an accounting of how we lived the precious and holy gift of life.
It’s this notion of being accountable that I suggest as a reflection today. The Book of Proverbs extols the virtues of a hard working and compassionate wife, reminding the reader that “charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting.” What lives on are the virtues, prayers, gifts of the Spirit and graces which God pours into our hearts which we share with one another.
And while we know that there will be a Day of Reckoning, we do not know the hour; this insights reminds us to follow St. Paul’s advice to be “sober and alert” each and every day – ready and eager for the Lord’s return.
What’s more, when that day comes, we will be judged with the awareness of our own unique situation. Like the three servants in the Gospel, we have all been given different talents, opportunities, resources and skills. It is neither a comparison nor a contest; rather, we will each be judged by how we worked and waited with what God put into our lives.
The invitation today: Are we prepared for the Lord’s return? Have we attended to our duties and tasks, or do we have unfinished business? Are there situations that require our attention and care? Sooner or later, the Lord will come…may he find us ready and waiting.
Study: Consider one thing you can do today to live your faith. What would it be?
Pray: Do you have any unfinished business that you need to complete? Ask the Lord for the strength and conviction to finish it.
Serve: Is there someone in your life who struggles with depression, fear, or doubt? How can you help them?
We start a new liturgical year in the Church (that’s “Year A” if you need to use the Lectionary for Sunday readings and “Cycle I” for daily Mass) with a vision of the end of time when the Son of Man comes in glory.
Several key points emerge:
- It will happen suddenly, when no one expects it (Gospel)
- All nations will come and be taught God’s ways (1st Reading)
- It is the Lord who makes peace possible, not humans (1st Reading)
- In God’s house there is great joy (Psalm)
- We live each day fully prepared, ready if the Lord call us (2nd Reading)
Advent gives us a rich – but very short – opportunity to prepare our hearts for Christmas. All of these points listed above serve as excellent reminders regarding how we live each day fully invested in the present moment. We live for the Lord, following his commands, so as to be ready whenever and wherever our lives will take the next turn in the road.
For when God calls us into eternity we hear that the unity, peace, and joy we glimpse in precious moments in this life will come to fulfillment. United in the Lord, we will join the heavenly host when this world passes away.
I invite us all to consider how we might do one thing better each day – to be more focused, more aware, more present – so that we can give glory and honor to Jesus Christ. We follow the Lord with all our hearts; may we make the most of every day to live our faith to the fullest.
May this Advent be a time of blessing for us all!
Life offers difficulties and multiple uncertainties. What’s more, no one knows the hour when we will be called by God out of this world. So how do we live?
Answer: Fully alive in the present moment!
- What’s your “bucket list” of unfinished business? Get ‘er done.
- Perform a daily diagnostic. It’s called an Examination of Conscience.
- Dare to share your heart. Say “I love you” to the people in your life!