This is a special time of preparation. This is a special time when we take to heart the Lord’s words in this Sunday’s Gospel.(1) He refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and also to the end of the world. “The deepest teaching about the end of the world is not about its physical ending, but about how you and I should be living now.”(2) We need to be prepared!
His final words concern the persecution of all those who will stand up for the truth, The Truth. “But before all this happens, men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness.” (3)
In our First Reading, the prophet Malachi does not mince his words, indeed the Lord’s words – “The day is coming now, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and the evil-doers will be like stubble. The day that is coming is going to burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, leaving them neither root nor stalk. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays.”(4) We need to be prepared!
It can be quite efficacious to keep the prospect of the Final Judgement as part of our “spiritual horizon.” (5) We know God our Father to be just but merciful, tender, true and faithful. We need not fear. We have only to trust. We have only to live out our daily existence in this way, co-operating with the grace that is freely available to us. We have to turn on the taps, so to speak, by regularly partaking of the Sacraments and through personal prayer.
The Lord warns and at the same time comforts us “You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair on your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.” (6)
So be prepared!
Sr. Rosaleen Shaw OP