As we draw closer to the end of the Church’s year the theme of the end times is presented to us. The image of the fig tree with its leaves coming out is a sign that summer is coming Jesus says in the Gospel. On a human level, it is great for us in the Southern Hemisphere. Summer is coming! Such a blessing for those who can get to the beach and enjoy the outdoors. However, this image refers to the ‘Son of Man’ coming in the clouds with great power and glory. An image of the last days.
You may like to listen to ‘You are the Son - Track 3’ from ‘Holy Land’. I sing about the Son of Man coming to us in splendour and that he shows us his face when the day is done.
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Living with Gratitude
All of us want our names to be included in the Book of Life. If we have been people who have attempted to live virtuous lives and encouraged and instructed others to do so as the prophet Daniel states, we can be assured of that inclusion. It is God’s promised gift to us.
It isn’t always easy though to lead virtuous lives. And it wouldn’t be virtue at all if there was no challenge involved. Making mistakes for example and realizing we are not perfect will temper our pride and teach us humility. I remember climbing up the scree slope of Mt Ngauruhoe. It was a slow process. I’d take 2 steps forward and 1 step back. If we keep moving forward taking small steps in the right direction, we will get to the place we need to be.
I am reminded elsewhere in the Gospel that the invitation to be with God can be made at the 11th hour. Such is God’s mercy and love for us prepared to bend over backwards for the likes of you and me.
None of us knows when the last day will be although you often hear and read about predictions from people who take a more fundamentalist approach to the Scriptures. We live in hope and trust in God’s own good time, conscious that there is so much we simply don’t know. To live each day aware of the blessings we have received, being grateful, and co-operating with God’s grace in and working through us is a much better approach.
We know for sure in faith that one day each of us will have our individual invitation to be with God on the day we die. That invitation has been extended to all the faithful departed who we are especially remembering and praying for this month. We don’t know the day or hour when that call will be extended to us, but we know it will happen. Often, we live our lives, especially when we are younger, as if it’s going to be a long way off. Today is an opportunity to remind ourselves and to take stock again regarding the choices we make and where our treasure lies.
In the letter to the Hebrews we read that priests of the Old Testament stood at their duties every day, offering over and over again the same sacrifices which were incapable of taking sins away. We believe when we celebrate the Eucharist something different is happening. Through the words and actions of the priest, Christ who offered one single sacrifice for sin, continues his saving work in the world. He brings us closer to that day when his work will be complete. We believe that in the Sacrament of Reconciliation too Christ forgives our sins.
We thank God for the opportunity of participating in these sacraments where we encounter the living presence of Christ here and now. Certainly, attention to our spiritual lives is a means by which we prepare and ready ourselves for that day when Christ will show us his face and call us to our eternal home.