This last Sunday of the liturgical year the readings draw our minds to the last things. The last things are not said for us to be frightened but for us to be strengthened. Jesus issued this terrible warning out of love and for our own good. Any Father that loves his son warns him to preserve him from damnation and self destruction. Therefore eschatological and apocalyptical readings are for our preservation and so looking at these readings we shall draw up some inspirations.
1. Jesus said to his disciples to say to his disciples is to instruct them. Every saying from the mouth of the King is an instruction. Therefore Jesus instructed his disciples because in Mark’s gospel the disciples were making terrible mistakes: in Mark 4:13 they could not understand the parables of Jesus, in Mark 8:14-21 they could not understand his teaching, in Mark 8:32-33, Peter rebuked Jesus. And so Jesus had to always instruct them. We too are found making terrible mistakes about the teaching of the end time and mistakes in our Christian journey. We need instruction for our salvation. Therefore Jesus gives us this instruction so that we don’t end in destruction. He warns us because he loves us; he warns us because he wants to preserve us. So we need to cry out in
the words of the psalmist “Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.” May God preserve our lives by the reason of his instruction. Amen!
2. The Words of Jesus will not pass away (Mk 13:31). We constantly experience the fact that everything passes away. Just as the previous years had passed away all of us will pass away. Our savings will pass away; our properties will pass away; our positions will pass away. But the words of Christ will not pass away. Not to pass away means that it will leave forever 1Jn 2:17 says “The world is passing away and also its lusts but the one who does the will of God will live forever.” Daniel says in the first reading many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to everlasting disgrace. Therefore, let us do the will of God and come to that everlasting life. This kind of life is not given to those who trust in princes and in mortal men in whom there no life but to those who trust in the words of Jesus that will never pass away.
3. We must stand against falsehood in Mark 13:32 Jesus says “about the day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father”. All predictions in this regard then, are false. Many preachers and prophets claim to know when the world will end, they give different predictions in their crusade ground, they bastardized the function of a prophet. A prophet is not a
soothsayer but a truthsayer. To say the truth is to say exactly what Christ has said. All those who are soothsaying are liars. Acts 1:7 says “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.” Therefore, we must stand against falsehood. Issues of the particular date and time the world will end should not trouble us. Christ himself comforted his disciples Jn. 14:1&2 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? Our goal therefore is to teach the truth, avoid vice and practice virtue. We do not know when we shall die. We can do nothing to avoid sudden death. But we can avoid an unprepared death.
4. Avoid unprepared death. This is the heart of today’s readings, an invitation to avoid unprepared death. One of the ways we can avoid unprepared death is through sacramental union, a prefigure of our eternal union. If we are united with him now we shall be united with him latter. Therefore, let us make every effort to preserve our union with Christ. And so say in the words of today’s psalm “I keep the Lord before me always; with the Lord at my right hand I shall not be moved” Let us be united with
the Lord for he will not abandon our soul to hell nor let his holy one see corruption.
Another way, is for us to watch and pray. The Gospel acclamation calls us to watch and pray. Matt. 26:41 says watch and pray that you do not fall into temptation. Luke 22:46 says Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you don’t fall into temptation. Whoever watches and prays remain standing; many have fallen because they were not watching nor praying. Nevertheless, if you have fallen, rise; rising is the habit of saints. To rise is to repent. We can rise not by our own power but through the purifying actions of Christ sacrifice.
The second reading says in Heb.10:12 Christ has offered for all times a single sacrifice for sins. Every sacrifice offered on this altar is not a repetition of Christ’s sacrifice but a reenactment. You can only repeat an action that has ended. Therefore, it remains a single sacrifice and the priest offers this sacrifice for the forgiveness of his own sins and the sins of the people. Through this same sacrifice we receive strength to keep God’s instruction. We pray today that through the sacrifice of the Holy Mass our sins will be forgiven and our strength revived! Amen.
Rev. Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai
Immaculate Conception Cathedral Auchi 18/11/2018