33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Next week is the last week of the liturgical year.  The Church’s liturgical calendar begins with Advent and closes with next Sunday’s Feast: The Solemnity of Christ the King.  The liturgical year is meant to help us meditate more deeply upon the various significant events of our Faith.  The Church gives us the liturgical calendar with all of its feasts in order to help us to walk with Our Lord in all the different stages and events of His life, death and Resurrection.  In the different feasts and seasons of the liturgical calendar the Church gives us readings and prayers for the Mass which reflect the liturgical season or feast that we are celebrating.  During Advent the Church has us recall how the entire human race, from the Fall of Adam and Eve on, awaited the promised Redeemer: the Savior Who would come and deliver us from sin and death.  At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of our Savior; throughout Ordinary Time we hear of Jesus’ ministry, His preaching and all the various miracles that He performed while on earth.  In Lent we spend time meditating on the fact that Jesus died on the Cross for us; at Easter we celebrate His glorious Resurrection from the dead.  Forty days later we celebrate His triumphal Ascension into Heaven; at Pentecost we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit.  Then at the end of the liturgical year we meditate upon the fact that this world will not last forever: all of time is a procession towards eternity.

As our liturgical year draws to a close, the Church gives us readings that concern the end of time.  Every week we profess in the Creed that we believe that Jesus Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.  The Church uses the end of the liturgical calendar as a time for us to meditate on that reality.  Not that we should fret over the end of the world or get caught up in wild predictions about when the end will come and how.  The Bible has many prophecies which are interesting, but they are very difficult to interpret.  Our Lord, in today’s Gospel, tells us not to go chasing after those who claim to know when the time is coming.  In another Gospel passage Our Lord tells us that no one knows the day or the hour when He will return in glory.

The point of reflecting on the transitory nature of this world is not to get us to worry or speculate about it.  The point of reflecting on the end of time is to encourage us to examine our hearts and make sure that we are prepared.  We do not know when time will end, however we do know that we were not made to live in this world forever.  One day each one of us here will experience death.  We do not know the day or the hour when we will be called from this life, and so we all need to be prepared.  It is easy to think that we have plenty of time for repentance, yet we ought to remember that each breath we take is a gift from God.  God has promised mercy if we repent, but He has not promised us tomorrow.

Let us examine our hearts, and then ask ourselves if we would be ready to meet Christ today.  Next time you pray: close your eyes and try to picture Jesus’ face; picture Him looking into your eyes, and then try to notice if you are able to meet His gaze steadily, or if you feel the need to look away.  Ask yourself if there is an area of your life or of your heart that you don’t want the Lord to see.  Then remember that Our Lord sees everything.  Nothing can be hidden from Him.  We might be able to hide things from other people, but God knows our thoughts; He knows our hearts.  If there is an area of our hearts that we have not turned over to God, we need to ask Him for the courage and strength to give that part of us to Him.  If there is something in our lives that we are ashamed of, we need to repent and go to Confession.  God wants us to surrender everything to Him.  He wants us to turn over our hearts to Him completely and entrust ourselves into His loving hands.  He wants us to draw nearer and nearer to Himself.  And only when we allow ourselves to be drawn completely to Him will we find our heart’s deepest desire.

Lord Jesus Christ, help us to rid our hearts of all that is not pleasing to You.  Help us, Lord, to always be prepared to meet You.  Give us hearts that long to see Your face.  May we be enabled to sincerely pray: “Lord Jesus, come in glory.”  Amen.