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Are you preparing for the coming of the Lord?
Two small boys saw their grandfather studying the Bible very intensely. The older one asked: “Grandpa, what are you doing?” He replied: “I am studying for my final exams.” Today’s Scripture readings remind us that this world will come to an end. In the 1st Reading the Prophet Daniel, foretells the end time when “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.” Likewise Jesus, in the Gospel passage, speaks of that time known only to the Father and no one else. It is to be a time of great distress, but people “the will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with great power and glory, and the He will send out the angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to t he end of the sky.”
- How are we to prepare for this Second Coming of Christ?
- Will we be in a panic or distressed because we are not prepared. or will we be standing ready and joyful because the Lord is coming for us?
I had a professor of Sacred Scripture, Msgr. Maurice Hofer who surprised our class one day when he said he never prepared for an exam. He said “I went home and studied and learned all that I had been taught that day. So when the day of the exam came, I did not have to study; I was thoroughly prepared to take it.”
Msgr. Hofer gives us a good model for preparing for the Second Coming and the Final Judgment of the Lord. It also serves as an example for the Particular Judgment which comes to every person who passes on from this world. We are to prepare to meet the Lord, not just at the very end of our lives or at the last minute, but every day. For, as St. John of the Cross says, “In the twilight of our lives, we will be judged by love.” And, just like Mary and Joseph and all the saints, we will be judged on how we showed love to God and others every day of our lives.
Unfortunately some people think they can make a deathbed confession and so not worry about living a good life. But as somebody once said, “Some people decide to be saved at the 11th hour, and they die at 10:30!” When Jesus tells us to be perfect just as our heavenly Father is perfect, He means that we are not meant to achieve perfection all at once, but of being open to perfection each day.
Today, then, we ask ourselves, what do we still need to do to prepare to the Coming of the Lord? We could do well to reflect on that one thing, that one sin or vice that we still have yet to get rid.
- Which one of the Seven Deadly Sins or attitudes do we want to eradicate?
- Perhaps it is pride, anger or lust?
- Which one of the 10 Commandments have we been struggling to keep?
- Or, more positively speaking, which of the 8 Beatitudes would I like to observe more faithfully—poverty of spirit, or showing mercy, being a peacemaker?
Since we all want to go that Eternal Feast God has prepared for us, we need to be prepared like the 5 Wise Virgins, who had their lamps filled with oil, awaiting to go into the Wedding Feast with the Bridegroom. If we are imprudent and unprepared, we will never get in. But with the oil of a life of faith-filled perseverance and good works, we will be alert and ready to greet the Lord when He comes. And He will then lead us into the heavenly feast where we and the Lord will enjoy one another’s company for all Eternity.