November 25, 2021
Thursday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today
(In the USA see reflection for Thanksgiving Day)
“And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” Luke 21:28
This passage above concludes a series of teachings by Jesus on the suffering and persecution that will come in this world. But His teachings conclude with this line above, which offers great hope in anticipation of Jesus’ return in glory. This passage speaks of the prophetic vision of Daniel (Daniel 7:13–14) that terrified Daniel when he saw it. He witnessed the great persecution to come, as well as the destruction of all evil that will accompany the return of the Son of Man.
When you think about both the final coming of Christ as well as your own future death, what comes to mind? If you were informed by an angel that tomorrow would be that day, the day that the Son of Man would return in all His splendor and glory to bring about an end to this world and to issue forth His judgment upon it, how would you react? Would you be terrified? Overjoyed? Hopeful? Confused? Perhaps a little of each of these reactions would be present. Of this time, Jesus said that “nations would be in dismay” and that “People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming into the world.” So what is your reaction to this promised day of our Lord?
Those who “die of fright” are clearly those who will experience this day completely unprepared. Meeting the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Savior of the World and the Eternal Judge when you are completely unprepared should be frightful. Imagine, for example, that you were hosting a large dinner party and you got your days mixed up. The day arrived and you weren’t expecting anyone until the following week, but the guests started to arrive in great numbers. Imagine your anxiety and embarrassment. Such an experience would be nothing compared to being unprepared for the judgment of Christ when we stand before Him at the time of our death and then at the Final Judgment at the end of the world.
The good news is that on that day, for those who are truly prepared through a life of faith and selfless service of God’s will, they are told to “stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” If you do all you can to prepare for that day, then it will be a day in which you anticipate with the utmost hope and excitement. You will indeed be able to stand erect, turn your eyes to the coming Judge of All, and receive the eternal reward that He so deeply desires to bestow. But this will be your experience only if you are truly ready for that day through a life lived in complete imitation of Christ.
Reflect, today, upon that final day. Imagine every person ever created standing before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Every sin and every virtue will be made manifest on that day. The minds and hearts of all will be seen in the light as they are revealed to all by God. And those who have lived lives of fidelity will rejoice as they see God’s justice and His mercy unite as His judgments are issued forth. If this day is one that frightens you, consider the reasons why. If you do not look forward to this definitive moment in time, then perhaps you need to ponder more deeply those things you need to do so as to be fully prepared. Prepare yourself today. Do not wait. Our Lord could return at any time. Do not be caught off guard.
My eternal Judge, You promise to return to earth at a definitive moment in time to bring about the fullness of justice. May I always be prepared for that day through a life lived in union with You and Your holy will. I pray for that day to come quickly, dear Lord, and that all Your children will be ready to meet You when You come. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint of the Day – Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr—Optional Memorial
In the USA see reflection for Thanksgiving Day