He Will Come Again in Glory to Judge the Living and the Dead
As I write this “Corner,” our Liturgical Year winds down to its final days. And, as you read this, the Season of Advent has begun with this, the First Sunday of the Church’s new liturgical year, the Year of Grace 2019. It may seem a bit tricky to reflect on the “End” and the “Beginning” at the same time, but it is something that we should blend into our every day activities. The daily Mass readings (Old Testament and New) for this past month of November have clearly focused on the inevitable end of our mortal days on earth and the fact that the lives we have led will be judged by Our Lord, meriting either Heaven or Hell, everlasting joy or torment.
The month was introduced with the “Eve of all Hallows/Saints” (or Halloween), followed by “All Saints Day” and “All Souls Day”. Saints are those women and men whom the Church honors, and whose lives it holds up as models for you and me to embrace and emulate, so that we too may attain Eternal Life. In our Gospel readings from Luke, this past week, Jesus reminds us that our redemption is at hand…and…that He will come again in glory. Listen closely today, during Mass, as we profess knowledge of that in Our Creed (that we profess every Sunday at Mass)… “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.” So, this ending-of-the-liturgical year, also serves to remind us to examine our own lives: to see if we are indeed living each day in such a way, that if we happened to die today, we would be welcomed into the Kingdom, and hear His heartwarming words… “Well done my good and faithful servant…Since you were faithful in small matters. I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share in your Master’s joy” (Mt 25:21). I am quite certain that we all would love to hear those words. And well we should.
Let’s consider the clear and simple guidelines Christ gave us: “You shall love the Lਏ your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” He labeled this as the first and greatest commandment, and followed with a second… “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Short and simple, comprehensive, but evidently not as easy as it sounds. Anything we give priority over loving God, is idolatry. We are all constantly subjected to myriad distractions of this world that lure us away from keeping Him in the very center of our lives.
I speak often of the value of sincere “striving”, constantly trying hard to eliminate (weed out) any of the things in our lives that virtually compete with God and to do good works. Heaven forbid that we should love anything more than God. A good examination of conscience will help us here. That’s a corrective action, eliminating those things that crowd out God from our attention. But how about committing to some affirmative action. Using our talents well, like that “Good and Faithful Servant”, would be a most appropriate affirmative action. His Church needs you. He wants everyone of us to behave like a helpful member of the family. He wants His Church to flourish and to grow; to be full of life; to be a place to turn in need; to be a place to reach out from to assist those in need; and to be a communal place where we are all family and all contributing to the many ministries that serve the spiritual needs of this family.
As I suggested several weeks ago at Mass, turn inward and ask yourself , “Am I involved in at least one parish ministry? Or, do I, in some manner, reject the messages Our Lord taught…to not be selfish with our talents and our time, when opportunities exist where I can serve Him in His Church? In addition to the parable from Matthew referenced above, it is considered that an additional 18 of the major parables of Jesus, relate directly to our call to Stewardship; to become Good Stewards.
In short, I dare say we all desire being welcomed to heaven and to avoid at all costs, relegation to hell. Faith and Good Works are necessary to reach heaven, so let us all keep that top of mind. At the end of each day, we should reflect on our success (or lack of it) in acting as, and being a good and faithful steward. Have we truly embraced our local Church, its members (particularly those with unattended needs) as being Our Family? Because that is exactly what Jesus wants, and has told us so throughout His Teaching Parables
Again, I invite you to pick up a copy of our “Ministry Directory” at the “Welcome Table” in the Narthex. Then select one or two that are of interest to you. And then, arrange to meet with the Ministry head(s) or simply give me a call. Prayerfully discern and decide on your ministry, and then begin (if you have not already) to make the Church Christ instituted for our spiritual well-being and knowledge of the Faith, an integral part of your life, just as He intended for us to do. Turn to Jesus in prayer and dedicate this new gift of your generosity which, along with your time and talent, will certainly be highly pleasing to Him. You will have made a Saintly choice which will certainly benefit you with great peace and grace. Your time dedicated to becoming a Holy Hour Member of our Eucharistic Adoration Guild will amplify that peace and grace. And, couldn’t we all use more of that?
Looking forward to working more closely with you in Ministry I remain yours in Christ,