Adobe Stock, The Lord of Hosts says, But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays (Malachi, 3:20A); Today’s First Reading.
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Next Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King, is the finale of the church’s liturgical year with its theme of the return of Jesus at the end of time. Today’s readings seem to be a foretaste of those things to come with writing called apocalyptic by the scholars. If you look at today’s gospel, Jesus is described as talking about all sorts of challenges and disasters if we accept him as our leader and guide. We will be thrown into prisons, led before governors, some put to death, betrayed by members of our own families, and so on. Well, taken literally, much of that is unlikely to happen today. The early Christians did indeed have to face terrifying times, including martyrdom, and, paradoxically, the church began to attract more and more converts at the same time. But each age has its challenges and threats. Looking at today, with a Covid pandemic, a financial meltdown, an unprovoked war against a peaceful country with nuclear threats raging, with climate change speeding up, with the consequent increases in stronger and more frequent hurricanes, biblical floods and droughts, the depletion of rainforests, and on and on, perhaps Jesus’ words are not so remote and confusing. Indeed, if you can substitute “society” for “you” in today’s gospel, it becomes almost prophetic! Each age throughout history is familiar with overwhelming threats to peace and prosperity, and ours is no exception. Approaching the Lord with humility and an open mind might well help us all live more securely and happily, even if painful remedies are required. Being Christian in the old days was very dangerous, but they did it. Facing the Christian future today requires monumental financial commitment, unblinking and accurate focus, and a total determination to see everything through to a better future, saving our God-given planet in all its beauty and wonder for the generations to come.
Looking at today’s second reading, St. Paul is dealing with local troubles, a reminder to us all that the global problems may require our more remote support, but our local problems require our direct support. We should all stick to what we do best, for the good of society, he says, and not to interfere and make life difficult for those around us: “We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a disorderly way, by not keeping busy but minding the business of others”. To solve our problems, we should be putting all our talents to the absolute best use, serving local and universal society in the best ways possible for each of us. All this is quite a message for the approaching end to the liturgical year, paralleling the challenging nature of what is happening everywhere today. As always, Jesus’ message can be applied directly to today, requiring courage, commitment, faith and hope in conducting ourselves in a Christian, loving, way, to serve God in serving others, in serving our world society.
Christian World View, Stephen Thompson 2018.
Reflections on next Sunday’s Mass Readings will be posted on Wednesday.
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