This is the last Sunday of the church year and the church continues to put before us the end things – death, judgement and the second coming of Christ. As we get older time flies. So its wise while here on earth to store up riches in heaven. Lets confess any ways we fail to prepare for the Lord’s coming..
When young I loved my parents and thought they’d never die. Yet both are gone and I miss them. The death of those we love is hard. Yet there’s only one certainty in life, our death, no one knows the day nor the hour. So its wise to be prepared: as the psalm says: “make me know the shortness of life that I may gain wisdom of heart”. and true wisdom is to live by faith while here on earth and to trust in Christ through all life’s trials. For life, though short, is as the poet says, “A vale of soul making”. We should use the time we have to build up our faith so that we wont be taken by surprise when the master comes. As Paul says in our reading, “its not as if we live in the dark for that day to come like a thief”. Christ says that his faithful will never walk in darkness. We’ll have the light of his life here and happiness with loved ones when our work’s done and He calls us home. So my youthful belief that my parents would live forever was right, for they had faith and goodness of heart. That enriched them to the core of their being and gave them a glory the world cannot give.
Now as days shorten, winter comes and harsh winds of recession blow, we should be wise and have similar faith. For darkness suggests eternal death and evil and no one wants to live in dark forever. Nor will we if, through faith and prayer and active Christian goodness, we keep Christ alive in our hearts. For He promised that those who believe and trust in Him will have the light of life. If were faithful to Him and his church we’ll have no fear. Unlike the good for nothing servant of the gospel, we wont be cast out into the dark of weeping and grinding of teeth.
But we should never presume on our salvation. That’s why the church puts before us as at this time the end things – death and Christ’s second coming to judge the living and the dead. Like the gospel of today she warns us to stay awake spiritually, lest we fall prey to the dark of Satan and the world of which he’s lord.
A headline in a paper recently said: “10 years ago we thought we’d killed God, now he seems to be very much alive again”. Why is the world so anxious to kill Christ today. That was the Neitzschean and Fascist philosophy. It said we must kill God and shake off all traditional moral restraints; look at the hell that led to under Hitler. Yet it is largely the secular philosophy of today. Does closing the Irish embassy to the Holy See suggest we’re adopting that dead end thinking. Christ challenges the world with what’s right so every age tries to kill him anew.
Perhaps some of you saw the film, “The Omen”, about the anti-Christ. The film is a misrepresentation of the Book of Revelation whose message is essentially positive; if we trust in Christ his coming will be a great joy. But the film is interesting in the anti-Christ is from a rich powerful family with global financial interests. Some say the anti-Christ’s already with us in such liberal capitalist thinking allied with materialism and media-driven secularism. Be that as it may, our task is to hold firm to Christ’s light no matter what contrary worldly philosophy holds. So that when he comes he’ll say: “well done good and faithful servants”. For the things of the world of which Satan is lord fade to dust and ashes at last, we cant take them into the grave, but Christ’s lord of love, goodness, peace, happiness and salvation for this world and forever and ever amen. So God’s people persevering in faith, love and goodness through all the trials of life and worldly attacks and so joining the saints in glory when Christ comes at last, lets profess our undying faith..
Prayers of the faithful
For our Holy Father and all church leaders, that they radiate the steady light of Christ amid the turbulence of our world..
For our civil leaders that they may not promote any philosophy that is alien to our heritage of glory in Christ..
For our youth that they may enjoy life’s good things given by God fully without putting their trust in passing worldly philosophies that threaten their deeper inner happiness and eternal salvation.
For ourselves in our homes, work places and areas, that, clinging to Christ the light of the world, we may illumine the darknesses of our world with his saving faith and presence, and go out to meet him with all the saints when he comes again in glory..
For all those suffering in the present recession and troubles of our world and all the sick, that trusting in Christ who is the same yesterday, today and forever they may have the strength to rise above all trials and sufferings..
For the dead that in this time of winter and darkness, they may experience an eternal summer with the heavenly father through our liberating prayers and petitions for them..
And we ask all these prayers through Christ our Lord, the light of the world and our unfailing hope forever and ever, amen.
In never tire of retelling the famous story of Faust. He sold his soul to the devil for a certain number of years of purely worldly power, wealth and pleasure. As the time fled and he neared his end he realized how stupid a bargain he has made. Many in our increasingly secular world make a similar mistake; they invest everything in passing things, nothing in their soul’s salvation. We pray to Mother Mary that we may not fall into that dead-end trap..Hail Mary.