19th Sunday OT year C
Whether we like it or not, the day is coming. It seems to me, the world can be broken into two camps: those who eagerly await that day, those who love to count down the days; and, those who fear its approach, those who are filled with dread at the very thought of it. I'm talking, of course, about the beginning of the School year. For parents, there are those who love to see this day come, those who would wish nothing more than to see their child off to school, so as to gain a bit of peace and quiet around the house. My Mom was this way! Imagine having 11 of us running amok for a whole summer and you would want to see us off as well. Still, there are those parents saddened by the beginning of school, many of whom experience an empty home during the school year. Then there are the kids, most kids probably say they don't like the beginning of school. They don't look forward to getting up early and doing homework, etc. That was me, I hated to see the beginning of the school year: fun time was over. But, other kids really enjoy school, they enjoy spending time with their friends, reading, studying, etc. But, no matter if you are looking forward to that day, or dreading it: the day is coming, we can neither speed up its arrival or delay its coming.
The same is true about the end of the world. That day is coming. We believe and profess every Sunday that we are waiting for the coming of Christ: He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We profess this every week. This should be something joyful for us. The coming of Christ should excite us. The day is coming when Jesus will return in his glory, inaugurating the Kingdom of God in its fullness. On that day, death will be no more, sin will be defeated and evil will be wiped out forever. On that day the light of Christ will shine into the dark recesses of all humanity, illuminating it and restoring it to its original beauty. We should long for this day, pray for its coming. Yet, at the same time, this day is frightening. For our Lord will come in Glory to judge the living and the dead. Are we ready for the judgment? When Jesus comes, will he find us to be faithful? Built right into the fabric of Christian existence is this paradox: we both eagerly await the coming of Christ and fear his coming. Peter recognizes this in the Gospel: Lord is this message for others, or for us as well? In other words, do we get out of the judgment? Surely as followers of Jesus, we shouldn't have to worry about the coming of the Savior, right? Don't we get a free pass? No! Jesus is quite emphatic. We as Christians have been given more, we have been blessed to receive the saving truth about Jesus. We know he is coming! There are many in the world who haven't a clue. We know, therefore we, above all, should be ready.
So, how do we get ready for the coming of Jesus? We will only be ready to welcome Christ on the last day if we are well-practiced at receiving Christ into our lives on a daily basis. We do this through our daily prayer: every day we should invite Christ into our lives, ask him to help us overcome our sinfulness, ask him for the grace to be led by the Holy Spirit. Second, we receive Christ in the sacraments of the Church. We will be ready to meet Christ on the last day if we meet him often in the sacrament of confession, we will be ready to receive his mercy on that last day, if we receive it here and now.
Finally, our faithful participation in the Eucharist is the perfect way to be ready to welcome Christ at the end of time. At every Mass, we hear God's word, we make known to him our needs, Christ comes to us in the Blessed Sacrament, and we pray every Mass "as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior." So, if we are eagerly awaiting the coming of Christ, the Mass helps us to participate in that coming even now. But, if we are weary of the coming of Christ, if the coming of Christ scares us, the Mass should calm our fears and encourage us to seek Christ on a daily basis.
The kids who have the worst time going back to school are often those kids who sit around doing nothing all summer, while those kids who kept up their reading, prayer, and exercise seem to be ready for the new school year. The same is true for us, if we want to be ready for the coming of Christ, we cannot expect to just sit around and do nothing. If we want to be ready to welcome Christ on the last day, we must welcome him into every day of our lives. Because, ready or not, that day is coming.