Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
November 18, A.D. 2007
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Psalm 98:5-6, 7-8, 9
2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
A reflection on today's Scripture:
Most of us remember how impatient we were as children, calling out from the back seat of the car to our parents, "Are we there yet? How long will it be until we get to grandma's house?"
Now that we're older, we're still eager to know the future-like, when the end of the world will come. A while ago, many millions of copies were sold of a book called "Left Behind." It was all based on a saying of Jesus in Matthew's Gospel, "Then two will be left in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left." Since the book was written for evangelical Christians, it got many Catholics worried that they would be excluded. Then, Carl Olsen calmed our fears and corrected this "rapture theory" with a book entitled "Will Catholics Be Left Behind?"
True, Jesus used some strong "apocalyptic" language in speaking about the end of the world. But His main message was that we are not to be afraid of the end of the world. If we have been faithful and have persevered in doing our work well and responsibly, then we needn't fear that God will be merciful in judging us, and will bring us to life eternal. "If we die (suffer) with the Lord, we will live with the Lord," St. Paul said. And in his Epistle to the Thessalonians, he calms the fears of those who misread all the persecution they are suffering, all the earthquakes and disasters they are experiencing, as signs that the world is ending. It's not happening until God decides!
The prophecy of Malachi, which incidentally, is the very last book of the Old Testament, says the same thing. Evil doers should indeed quake and tremble at the coming of the just Judge. But those who have "hung in there," who have worked day by day for the benefit of their neighbor, and have struggled to keep faith and hope in the Resurrection, these people don't need to fear when they see natural disasters and horrible evil (as we are seeing at the present time!). It's not the end yet! Jesus has assured us that "we know not the day nor the hour when the Son of Man will come." All we need to do is to witness by our Christian faith, even in the midst of disaster. How? By our standing firm to the laws of God as revealed in the Scriptures and by His Church.
Of course the world will end some day. Only God knows the exact day and hour. All we need to do is to work conscientiously while we have the light, for a time is coming when no man will work. When that time comes, we are to leave fear aside, and trust in the mercy and loving promises of the One who died and rose from the dead that all his faithful ones might rise with Him.
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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