Salvation

 

PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE.

 

I am not a big movie fan but I have seen the ads on TV for movies like the Avengers, Deadpool 2, Ant Man and the Wasp all portraying ultimate battles of the world.  These are movies that computer generated imagery have made possible to create fantasies with a remarkable degree of realism.

 

As we celebrate the final two weeks of the liturgical year, our Scriptures turn to the end times.  However the words and imagery of the prophet Daniel and Jesus himself may not have the same punch for us as they had for the first hearers.

 

Many of us have lost that sense of immanence that the early Christians had concerning Christ’s return.  If we even think about a final reckoning we tend to think it is a long way off.  Although with what is going on in our country and world today the thought may have crossed our mind.  What we are doing to our planet with exploitation of resources, destruction of the environment, global warming not to mention the growing tensions between nations and the threat of nuclear war gives me great concern.  But the truth is, despite our ever-improving health care and increased longevity, we all remain mortal and have only so much time on this earth.

 

The point is that our lives and what we do with them matter, and we don’t have forever.  Jesus warns us to watch for the signs so that we won’t be caught up short. 

 

Back in 1994 there was the Rwandan genocide in which the controlling Hutu tribe massacred the Tutsi tribe killing almost one million people in just 100 days.  Immaculee’ Ilibagaza survived that massacre by hiding in a small bathroom for 90 days with seven other women, unable to speak or make any noise.  She said that she prayed the Rosary over and over again but she struggled with the part “Forgive those who trespass against us.” 

 

In her book, “Left to Tell” she recounts her ordeal and how God led her to work to bring forgiveness to her country and to reconcile Hutus and Tutsis in her own country.  Some of you will remember Immaculee’ Illibigaza as she was one of the speakers at the National Black Catholic Congress in Indianapolis a number of years ago.  Immaculee’ Illibagaza is an example of a person who was not going to sit back and wait but a person called to a mission to prepare the world for the coming of Christ.

 

How do I prepare for the coming of Christ each day?  Do I forgive myself and those around me as if today will be my last day?

 

What “signs of the time” challenge me to see the coming of a new age in Christ?  How do these lead me to work for and do justice to others, to our world?

 

Where is the strong urgency for forgiveness in and of the Church today?

 

How do we challenge one another in order to make us stronger through forgiveness?

 

Today’s Gospel calls us to move beyond our fear so we can do justice and forgive.

How is this time for all the world, all the nations, “unsurpassed in distress” as we heard in our first reading?  What challenges stand before us?

 

Who are the “wise” in our world today “who shine brightly” who are showing the way to justice and truth.

 

The bottom line of our readings today as we approach the end of our Liturgical Year is that our lives and what we do with them matter, and we don’t have forever.  We all can make a difference and help to make our world a little more like God intended it to be and thus prepare ourselves for when we shall be called home to the Lord.

 

Fr. Carroll Mizicko, OFM

 

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