Our scripture at this dark end of the year naturally deals with the end things, death & judgment. The first reading deals with the end of the world and so does the Gospel. Lets confess any ways we fail to prepare by good deeds and faith for our end.
Recently, I said to someone: “We’ve only 30 years left”. A article said a meteor was heading for the earth and could strike in the year 2030 with the force of 100 atom bombs. 30 yrs hence many of us won’t be around. But even the youngest of us needn’t worry. The odds on the meteor hitting earth are 500 to 1. Such reports are grist to the mill of a press who play on our fears. During the Millenium many predicted the world’s end. We should treat all such with care. They misrepresent apocalytic writing. For believers, Christ’s second coming will be a cause for joy.
Yet we do need to be reminded that the earth will end; even scientists agree on that. It could be destroyed at any time by some cosmic cataclysm. And despite all those films where heroes stave off world destruction at the last moment, we’re really powerless before the vast forces of the universe. If the world shifted a bit on its azis we’d all be wiped out and there’s nothing we could do about it. Local national disasters, such as sunamis or severe earthquakes remind us of our limitations before the forces of nature. Disasters happen because The world since the fall is imperfect and corrupt human agency brings them about; global warming is caused by human greed and industrial fumes. Forces of world greed, technology and industry need to be tempered for the sake of the earth’s survival. We can all help save the environment and stave off natural disasters.
But ultimately all is passing. If God took his hand away it would all be over. Our consolation is that he loves us despite our failings and won’t take his hand away until Christ’s second coming. And that won’t be a so much a taking way of his hand as the final triumph of his love. The world, theologians argue, wont be so much destroyed as transformed. When will that be? No one knows. Even Christ in the Gospel says he doesn’t know. Though the Book of Revelation says fearful things will happen then, we shouldn’t worry, Christ will be there to save us. The more immediate truth is the end of each of us, death. We could face that and judgment any day. But the gospel message is: “Dont be afraid, I am with you”. It tells us not to be afraid, yet to be prepared within to meet the Lord should He come at any time.
Today’s Gospel at the end of the church year and in the dead of darkness and winter, jolts us into sober reflection on these end things. But the constant threat of eternal darkness shouldn’t so much frighten as wake us up spiritually. Christ says that if we remain faithful, the second Coming will be our triumph. That’s why in the mass, and at Christmas, we say, “Christ has died Christ is risen Christ will come again”. We joyfully proclaim his resurrection and look to his coming again to fulfil God’s plan, the final triumph over sin, suffering and death. This is the message of the Book of Revelation. Christ has won the victory for us. We needn’t fear though the sky fall down. For when the world ends so will all immoral godless values of which Satan is lord. Only good will remain and Christ will gather his faithful into an eternal kingdom of love, peace and joy. In that light to be faithful is the goal of life on earth. To enjoy life fully as his people here, until He fulfils our dreams in heaven. For worldly values fade and leave us empty before eternity but Christ is lord of enduring goodness, happiness and salvation both for this world and when it ends, forever and ever in heaven, amen. So as God’s joyful people, keeping our souls ready for death and judgement and looking to his final coming, we profess our faith.
Prayers of the faithful
As God’s church people, as the year ends and we’re reminded of the end things, lets pray for our ongoing safety and salvation..
For the leaders of the church, especially our Holy Father, that they may lead all in faith, truth and goodness, so that they whole world may be prepared for the final coming of Christ.
For civil leaders that they may further people’s spiritual as well as material welfare and govern with integrity and justice.
For youth, may they see through passing worldly values to the timeless Lord, their lasting happiness for here and hereafter..
For ourselves in our homes, workplaces and areas, may we prepare ourselves and loved ones for the Lord’s coming, by living faith.
For the sick, the aged and the housebound that through our care they may know the love and care of God..
For the dead that through our prayers, love and remembrance they may come to final judgment cleansed of sin and ready for heaven..
And we ask all these things through Christ our Lord whose second coming we look forward to with great joy, amen.
Some people are natural pessimists. A friend of mine when he has any ache or pain says, “I’m finished, its all over”. And some seem to be full of glee when a big storm or other disaster is coming. Maybe its because we love a bit of doom and gloom or need a bit of drama to add spice to our lives. I know a person who says the present recession is the collapse of the vain secular Tower of Babel we built in the west. Be that as it may, the doom-and-gloom brigade will have a field day when the apocalypse nears. We shouldn’t share that gloom for Christ is merciful, but at the same time lets pray to Mary that our souls will always be prepared for his coming at death or at the world’s end..Hail Mary