Wednesday, 31st Week in Ordinary Time November 8, 2017November 8, 2017
Feast of Saint Andrew, ApostleNovember 30, 2017
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus and the disciples discuss the Final Judgment Day. To the world, this will look like the ultimate disaster. But if we refuse to belong to the world, because we belong to the kingdom of God, for us Judgment Day will mean hearing God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You are now totally free from evil!”
Belonging to God’s kingdom is counter-cultural — and it’s become even more obviously so in today’s world. To escape the Final Judgment, we have to believe in Jesus and what he taught, but we have to also follow him and do what he taught. This requires ridding ourselves of every worldly behavior that is not Christ-like. Moral relativism is one example. Christ taught moral absolutes, but the world wants us to accept the idea that everyone can safely make up their own minds about what is sinful and what is not.
When the disciples asked for clues about the timing of the disaster that Jesus described, he warned them to be careful lest they fall prey to deceptions. He knew that focusing on the future can easily causes misinterpretations and mistaken predictions.
Jesus wasn’t being a soothsayer when he warned that the holy temple would get torn down. He was talking about the here and now of his interaction with the disciples: The Messiah had come and therefore the stone temple was no longer needed.
His words also apply to our own here and now: Our bodies, which are temples of the Holy Spirit, will die and decay, but our Messiah has come. Living in him and through him today will secure our future in the kingdom of God, even if the Second Coming of Christ does not occur in our lifetimes.
In the meantime, when plagues of hardships infect our lives, or when famines make us hungry for whatever we lack, or when earthquakes like the loss of a job or the death of a loved one shakes up our world, we’re comforted by remembering that this is normal for this world and we do not belong to this world. We take action to make the world a better place, but we do not live in fear nor do we wait for Jesus to do the work without us.
Even when it seems like our problems will bring a permanent end to what had been good for us, the fearsome omens should not dismay us. Our Messiah is with us! So keep your eyes on Jesus, here and now.