Divine Dialogue of God with the Soul
Today we come to the last Sunday in Ordinary Time—next week we will celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King, and the following week will be the First Sunday of Advent.
The Church has us thinking today about the end of the world. The description sounds like a science fiction movie, but the words come right from the lips of Jesus, so they are meant to be taken seriously, if not literally. St. Mark, in chapter 13, verses 24-32, quotes Jesus as saying, In those days…the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory…. The last line of this passage from Mark’s Gospel reads, But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. These are sobering words that can fill us with fear or awe. Or both.
If you were to ask me what Jesus meant by this, I wouldn’t dare try to explain. But here’s what I do know: at some point in history, the world will end. And Jesus wants us to be ready for it. If we are still alive when that day comes, if we’ve tried to be faithful to God’s plan for us and to His commandments, we will rejoice to see the ‘Day of the Lord’ arrive. If we aren’t ready, well, let’s pray we will be! But chances are we will have our own Day of the Lord before that, late or soon, when Jesus will come for us personally at the end of our lives. For sure, we want to be ready for Him when He comes. A most obvious way to be sure of that is to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation by going to confession. If it’s been a while, it can be hard. But Advent is a time to do this, because it’s a season of special Grace for each of us as we prepare for the Feast of Christmas in our hearts. It’s good to think about confession as an encounter with Love Itself—that is, with God Himself who IS Love. It can be embarrassing if it’s been a long time since our last confession, but it’s the Priest we are embarrassed to talk to, not Jesus. I can say this for sure, though: what a joy it is for any priest to receive someone in confession who has been away for a long time. It’s a great moment for him, for that soul, and especially for God. It’s why many men choose to become a Priest—for the privilege of bringing souls back to God through this wondrous Sacrament. Perhaps it’s time for us to take that step and encounter Jesus: to be ready for the last day, and to experience His love through the Sacrament of Mercy.
This Gospel reminds us, finally, that one day at the end of time or at the time of our earthly death we will all see Jesus as He truly is—King of the Universe. How blessed we will be to have loved Him all our lives, and not to be surprised to find out the truth about Him only then. Let us thank Him today that we have come to know Him in the Breaking of the Bread, in Sacrament, and in the Scriptures. Let our hearts be lifted up in this simple prayer:
Praised be Jesus Christ!