THEME: NOBODY KNOWS WHEN THE END WILL COME.
BY: Fr. Arthur Ntembula.
(Malachi 3:19-20, 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12, Luke 21 5-19)
Today’s readings tell us of the end times and what will happen when the Son of Man will appear for the second time, coming in glory. Going back in history, in 1844 we had what is called the Great Disappointment. A preacher by the name of William Miller proclaimed that he had a revelation about the end of the world. He told his followers that Jesus would come back on 22nd October 1844. He called this The Advent. Many believed him and even started getting rid of their possessions; after all, Jesus was coming soon. Now they were all disappointed because Jesus never came on that date. Miller had to explain to them why Jesus didn’t come, that instead of coming on the earth, Jesus decided to move to the holy of holies in heaven to offer sacrifice for those who were still in sin. It was a Great Disappointment. The most recent prediction is the famous Y2K, 2000 millennium when the scientists told us that world computers would all crush and the world would be in darkness. Some religious figures even concluded it would be the end of the world, as foretold in the Bible.
Dear friends whenever we are confronted with such predictions, we should remember Jesus’ words: “Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘the time is at hand!’ Do not go after them.” In other words, we should not be misled. Only God knows when the world will end.
St. Paul, in the second reading, is addressing a similar situation in Thessalonica. Thessalonians believed in the imminent coming of the Son of Man. They believed that Jesus would come back any time soon as he promised. So some even stopped working and began lazing around waiting for Jesus. St. Paul challenged them that whoever was not working should not eat as well. So, he encouraged them to imitate him and the other apostles to work for their bread and feed themselves. Waiting for the second coming of Jesus is not wrong, but it does not mean that people should fold their arms and stop working. Nobody knows the time, but God.
Jesus is pointing to the same reality as well when he talks about what will accompany the second coming of the Son of Man. He uses apocalyptic language to make his point. He talks about nation rising against nation, great earthquakes, famines, pestilences, persecutions, terrors and great signs from heaven. The point he is laying across is that before we see the Son of Man coming in glory, we have to pass through this life, and experience its pain, calamities and evil. We have to walk through it with perseverance. What helps us to prepare for that day of reckoning is how strong we can stand in faith as we experience life with everything else it brings. We have to wait for his coming with faithfulness to his law and not with fear.
The first reading spells out a somewhat scary fate for those who shall be found in a state of sin when that day comes. The prophet Malachi says that all the arrogant and evildoers shall burn and it will leave them neither root nor branch. The prophet points to eternal damnation. He also gives us the reality of the righteous. He says that for those who fear the Lord, the light of righteousness shall rise upon them with healing in its wings. This points to eternal happiness. We are free to choose where we want to end up: eternal happiness or eternal damnation.
Today we have many prophets and men of God who claim to know a lot about the coming of Jesus. They give us the details of what will happen and when possibly it will happen. Jesus himself never told us when it will happen, but that it will happen. What is cardinal for us is to prepare ourselves for this day. We should be steadfast in our faith. We should always be acknowledging the presence of God in our lives while also being aware of how he expects us to conduct ourselves in any given situation. Only then can we be sure that when that day comes, whenever it will come, “the sun of righteousness shall rise upon us” and we shall be counted among those to be in God’s kingdom. Like St. Paul tells us, let us continue working and taking care of ourselves and our families while remembering that the day of reckoning will come when we will stand before the Just Judge and account for how we lived our life.
ENJOY YOUR LITURGY