Fittingly, scripture on the last Sunday feature the apocalypse, the end of the world and Christ’s second coming in judgement. The first reading talks of evil-doers being burnt like stubble then but also the sun of righteousness shining out with healing in its rays. Christ says to endure in faith to the end whatever it may bring. Lets confess and prepare always for that hour..
This is a dark time of year and there’s darkness around us also: violence, war, unbelief, injustice, hunger and recession. But scripture tells us not to despair. Even if the end of the world comes with fearful sights our perseverance in faith, hope and charity will save us. We face winter now. Cold is setting in, and the hours of daylight are short. We hate the dark, and an eternal winter of the soul is unthinkable. It won’t happen if through faith and prayer we keep God’s light burning in your hearts. Its with assurance that the church reminds us now of the end things – death, judgment and Christ’s second coming when he’ll judge the world by fire and gather his faithful from all times and nations. But won’t so much an end a a new beginning, the completion of God’s plan of salvation. Our sure hope is that we, if faithful, will be part of that great gathering in light? Though we live in an increasingly irreligious world our endurance will be our reward, hence Christ’s advice to persevere in faith.
But such endurance isn’t easy today. A headline in a newspaper recently said: “10 years ago we thought we’d killed God but now he seems to be alive again”. That was the Nietzscean, Fascist and Satanic creed, kill God and exercise your desire and power beyond any divine standards of right. Haven’t we learned anything from the hell Hitler caused? Why are we so anxious to kill God too now? Didn’t we do enough by crucifying him once?. Yet our world seems bent on returning to the darkness from which his suffering delivered us. Why? It makes no sense. Even psychologists agree that faith is vital for our general well-being; Jung the great psychiatrist said that the “death of God is the death of man”. We need him to reach our full humanity and even to survive. A recent scientific study said that evolution favors those of faith. Why destroy something that’s salvation for this world and the next? Is it just stupid human perversity and arrogance? Or do we reject him because His way goes against our selfish destructive desires.
Perhaps some of you saw the film the Omen? Its about the anti-Christ who’s to come before the world’s end to lead even good people astray. The film is a distortion of the message in the Book of Revelation which says the end will really be our final liberation from evil. But its interesting that in the film the anti-Christ is from a rich family with global business power. He kills his parents and uses that power to promote his anti-God message. Some say the anti-Christ’s already with us in this way, in a host of anti-God forces, materialism, secularism, militant media atheism, libertinism, uncaring capitalism; the horns of a beast who’ll try to to root up God’s work, as the Bible warns.
We must be strong enough in faith to resist such forces, for as the first reading warns: “the day is coming now, burning like a furnace when all the arrogant and the evil-doers will be devoured by fire”. But for those who continue in faith “the son of righteousness will shine out with its healing rays”. Christ says the same in the gospel: “You’ll be hated by all on account of my name but your endurance will win you your lives”. The key then is to keep on Christ’s way of faith, love, peace and happiness whatever befalls, so we’ll be gathered at last into his heavenly mansions. For worldly values pass and leave us empty before eternity but Christ’s lord of life, light, truth, beauty and salvation both for worldly happiness and forever and ever, amen.
So as God’s own, faithful amid the world’s attacks and sufferings and so joining his saints in glory at last, we profess our faith.
Prayers of the Faithful
And as God’s faithful lets pray for the gifts only He can give.
For our Holy Father and all leaders of the church that they may persevere in the faith and in the proclamation of God’s Word in season and out of season and so redeem the times..
For civil leaders that they may facilitate the church and the people’s learning and practice of their faith..
For youth that wisely reflecting on the end things, they may persevere in the faith that is life for this world and forever.
For our homes, may parents nurture love, faith, grace and peace for happiness for themselves and their family now and to the end.
For the sick, the old, the lonely and the poor that through our care for them in body and soul they may know God’s love..
For the dead that through our continuing remembrance and prayers they may join the saints in glory when Christ comes at last; and we pray in particular for those on the list of the dead..
And we ask this through Christ who intercedes for us before the Father as our lord of life and love forever and ever, amen.
During the millennium some proclaimed the world’s end, but this is unscriptural. Even Christ didn’t know the time nor the hour, He said its known only to the Father. What is sure, however, is that the world will end some time. Like everything else, as scientists agree, its finite. But that end’s probably a long way away. For each of us, however, its quite near, our death is our own particular apocalypse. Let pray we’ll be ready when the end comes having kept hope and faith alive in our hearts..Hail Mary