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LIVE IN THE HOPE OF THE COMING OF THE LORD
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Friday, Last Week of the Year, November 28, 2014
Rev. 20:1-4, 11-21:2, Ps. 83, Luke 21:29-33
Scripture quotations are from the RSV unless otherwise noted.
"And he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree, and all the trees; as soon as they come out in leaf, you see for ourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near'" (Luke 21:29-31).
Jesus is here speaking about the coming of the kingdom of God in its full, final, and developed form on the last day when Christ will return the second time in power and glory with all his saints in great light to judge the living and the dead. On that day the righteous, who believed in Christ, were saved from their sins and made righteous (justified) by his death on the cross, which made reparation for them, and who lived in his light, doing his will, will be resurrected to live with him forever. This is the kingdom of God that will then come in splendor and light. It is for this kingdom that we are to be always prepared, vigilant, and watchful at all times, renouncing worldly desires, avoiding temptations, and even keeping guard over our thoughts, lest we be defiled by them. That is, we should always live in expectation for the coming of the Lord on the clouds of heaven with all his saints in great light.
We should look forward to the end of the world and to all this glory that is to come, and live pious lives to be ready for it. "Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! ... Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace" (2 Pet. 3:11-12, 14).
Living in the light of these things, we should have a holy way of life and be at peace with God, without sin. We are to reform and cleanse our conduct and our whole way of life, even our thoughts, avoiding all that could defile our spirit, fleeing temptations and occasions of sin. If we live like this, we should long for the coming of the Lord, for we have been saved from our past sins through our faith in Christ's death. If, then, we remain faithful to his word, avoiding sin and temptation, and doing his will, we should rejoice in the hope of his glorious coming.
But to be able to rejoice in his coming, we must be ever vigilant and watchful now, living each day as though Christ were to come in all his glory on this very day. We should live within this hope, and this hope should animate us to reform our life and behavior to be clean and pure when he comes in his glory.
Then we will say, as we joyfully look forward to his coming: "Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult; and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth" (Ps. 95:11-13). "Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth" (Ps. 97:7-9).
With this kind of rejoicing we are to await the coming of the Lord. We are to live within this hope, ever preparing ourselves more for his coming.
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