AUTHENTIC WITNESSING TO CHRIST IN THE WORLD
????Mal 4:1-2a (3:19-20); Psalm 98:5-6, 7-9ab, 9bc (R.v.9cd); 2 Thess 3:7-12; Luke 21:5-19
????AUTHENTIC WITNESSING TO CHRIST IN THE WORLD
As we approach the final days of the Churchs Liturgical year, with just one more Sunday to go, the three readings of we have in our Liturgy of today make reference to the fate and what is expected of Christians at the end of time, amidst the difficult times.
The First Reading specifically mentioned what is to be the fate of the people when that day comes. In many of the prophetic books, this coming day is called the Day of the Lord.
The Day of the Lord is used in the Scriptures to designate Gods solemn intervention in the course of history; the day which will witness Gods triumph over his enemies. The people of Israel looked at this day as a day of restoration, when God will liberate them from the hands of their oppressors (cf. Isa 13 & Isa 34) and take vengeance on them (Jer 46:10). This understanding is borne out the fact that God has chosen the people of Israel to be his very own (Deut 7:6), they are his people and he their God (Ezk 36:28) and so their enemy, his enemy. That was the reason every Jew was waiting for that day.
Ironically though, some of them were waiting for such liberation without bothering to live in righteousness. The Prophet Amos always warned them of the danger of living their life in immorality and injustice, reminding them that the Day of the Lord might not turn out peacefully for them as they anticipate unless they match their worship with righteous living (cf. Amos 5:18ff).
That is the same theme that the Prophet Malachi raised in our First Reading of today. He says that all the arrogant and all evildoers will stumblebut for you who fear my name the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings (Mal 3:19, 20). In fact, all the prophets had at one time or another exhorted the people to match their waiting for the Day of the Lord with conversion and righteous living (cf. Isa 3:9-18).
It is obvious that the Church in Thessalonica faced similar problem of laxity among the believers. Many of them were anticipating the imminent Parousia Second Coming of Christ and so found it unnecessary to do any work, becoming parasites that live on the sweat of others. In the midst this confusion and laxity, St. Paul and his companions showed great example to the people, which is the testimony that he gives in the Second Reading of today. St. Paul said, You know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you (2Thess 3:7).
There are lots of confusion in our world of today similar to the ones that Christ mentioned in the Gospel lots of wars, terrorism, economic recession, hardship, persecution, betrayals and so on. It is as if the end has really come. In the midst of all these, the Christian is expected to live by good example and show the face of Christ to others in the world as did the early Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26). That is the only good way to prepare and wait for the coming of Christ The Day of the Lord.
By next Sunday, we shall celebrate the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe and that would bring us to the end of the Liturgical Year. So, these readings assist us to take stock of how we have lived our lives in the past Liturgical Year. By extension, they prepare us to take stock of how we have lived our lives as we anticipate the end of our lives here on earth.
The question before all of us is this: what account of our lives would we give to the Supreme Judge if we are called before his judgement seat on this very day?
May God the loving Father help us in our daily life struggles to eliminate all kinds of evils in our daily living so that we might be prepared at all times to welcome the Kingdom of God the Kingdom of peace and harmony when it comes.
Have a grace filled Sunday. It is well with you!