Preparing for the end times
Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
By Fr. Roy Cimagala
This is just to be realistic. It’s not meant to scare us or to be a killjoy or a wet blanket in our life. Not only do we all die. There is also the end of time itself. Our earthly existence is just a sojourn, a training and testing ground before we enter into our definitive life for all eternity, hopefully in heaven with our Father and Creator God.
We need to develop a good and healthy sense of our life’s end, which is our death that can come to us anytime, as well as the end of time itself. If we follow our Christian faith, we know that there is nothing to be afraid or anxious about in these truths of our faith.
We would know what truly is the purpose of our life here and of our earthly existence in general. We also would know that we have all the means to pursue that purpose properly. We are somehow reminded of this truth of our faith in that gospel episode where Christ talked about the end of the world. (cfr. Mk 13,24-32)
But, yes, we have to develop a good and healthy sense of how to end our life well, properly prepared to meet Christ in our particular judgment as well as in our general judgment during Christ’s second coming.
Having a good sense of the end gives us a global picture of our life that spans from time to eternity, and sheds light on the present. It guides us. It gives us a sense of confidence and security. It reassures us that we are on the right track, that we are doing well.
The sense of the end motivates us to make plans always, to be thoughtful and anticipative of things. It also teaches us a sense of order and priority. It motivates us to set goals, make schedules and the prudent use of time. Ultimately, it helps us to distinguish between the essential and the non-essential in our life.
A person who does not have a sense of the end is obviously an anomaly. He tends to be lazy and prone to his personal weaknesses, to drift off aimlessly and lose control of his life. Such person is usually called a bum, a tramp or a vagrant.
In this regard, we have to learn to look forward to the second coming of Christ. That’s when Christ, the pattern of our humanity and the savior of our damaged humanity, will come again to make the final judgment on all of us, establishing the definitive and eternal Kingdom of God that is meant for us. Obviously, we have to prepare ourselves for it.
This truth of our faith was implied when some leading Jews once asked Christ when the Kingdom of God would come. To which, Christ answered that “the coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” (cfr. Lk 17,20-25)
This attitude of waiting, expecting and making the proper preparation for the second coming of Christ should be learned by all of us. And we can do that by strengthening our belief that Christ is actually already with us. He is everywhere, around us and inside us. We just have to develop the habit of looking for him in order to find him.
Only with Christ, can we be properly prepared to face him in the final general judgment during his second coming.