33rd Sunday C: Running with the Lord

Two weeks from now the season of Advent will begin.  That’s when the most important preparation for Christmas begins.  This preparation is meant to help us to celebrate God becoming Man.  Advent celebrates the two comings of God-made-Man, His physical coming in the flesh at Bethlehem and His spiritual coming as King of the universe at the end of time.

Our preparation begins with the prophecy of the Prophet Malachi who wrote 450 years before the birth of Jesus. At that time the people had fallen into religious indifference.  They had compromised their faith and were living in sinful lifestyles.  Still, their lives flourished.  They were very much like many people today.  It is not that most reject God, it’s just that they tend to ignore Him, because they are TOO BUSY!  To all who are tempted to just go along with the sinful lifestyles Malachi says:

See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who revere My Name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.”

In today’s Gospel, from Luke, Jesus speaks directly about the end of time.  He uses apocalyptical language, the language of the Book of Revelation.  Jesus told the disciples that the Temple would be torn down because all material things come to an end sooner or later.  Then the disciples asked the big question, the question that so many people want to know: When? 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus absolutely refuses to say when the end of time will come.   His point is that His true followers should not be concerned about when the end will come, they should only be concerned that they are ready for the end so they can take it in stride. We need to be living a Christian lifestyle day in and day out.  Any distance runner or high school cross county coach will tell you that success will be achieved by running with a constant strong stride through most of the race.  The same is true regarding our lives.   We achieve the goal of salvation with the constant steady pace of fidelity, in the practice of the Christian lifestyle.

Yes, the world will come to an end, but we have no cause for panic.  Our life in this world will come to and end; again no need for panic.  Only those who ignore the Lord, the people of religious indifference and sinful lifestyles, need to panic.  The rest of us should just ask ourselves: Is my pace good?  Am I striding towards my God? Do I need to pick up the pace a little bit particularly through confession and a renewed prayer life?  Am I ready for the end of the world or the end of my life? 

Let us pray for the courage to make living with God the goal of our existence. And may we do so, always running with the Lord.

Fr. Tom