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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Homily 11-17-2013

In the Creed we say that Jesus "will come again to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end."  If this is our faith, if this is the truth, then what does that mean for how we live now?

First, this line in the Creed reminds us that the power of this world will be overcome, and that we can say with certainty: The world is going to end.  I'm not here to tell you when, whether today or in a hundred years.  But I am here to say that the world will end.  Even if we don't know when the cosmos will implode or civilization annihilated, we can certainly say that with death the world does end, as far as the individual is concerned.  We die, and we enter a different reality, a new way of living in the resurrection of the flesh.  I think that phrase, the world is going to end, as ambiguous as it is, is perhaps the best way to say it.  Because the fact is, we don't know, and not knowing should create a sense of urgency for us.

So although Jesus instructs us to ignore those people who seem to know that "the end is very near," we should certainly live daily as people destined for judgment under the law of freedom.  At the end of our life, all will be laid bare before God whose light cannot be swallowed up by any darkness, and the Crucified Lamb of God will ask us how we loved, how we lived, how we served Him.  And we will be rewarded abundantly for what service we offered.  Malachi says that day will be a burning furnace for the wicked, but a pleasantly warm sunshine for the just.

Until that happens, though, we have a difficult road.  Look at our leader.  That's what we follow.  You may ask, "how literal is our following of that?"  Well, for some it is as literal as those Christians in northern Nigerian and Egypt who are being blown up in church, Not to mention the many countries east of Egypt.  According to the International Society for Human Rights in Frankfurt, Germany, 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed against Christians. (NCReporter)  Here in the U.S., persecution is not, nor do I suspect it to become, outwardly violent.  However, we are fighting serious culture wars that continue to put us against the grain of many as we attempt to defend the human person from conception until natural death and promote God's law both natural and divine.  Jesus says don't worry about how you'll defend yourself, just stay close to me and I will inspire you with the right words or actions when you need it.  By your perseverance, you will secure your lives.  Whether we suffer martyrdom or not, we know that our true life is in God and beyond this passing world.

The faith we profess is that things will turn upside-down and get set straight in God's kingdom.  We will have to wait for His return or our death for that to fully happen.  But, we also begin to experience that now, just as Our Lord told us: The kingdom of God is among you.  Within the Body of Christ, i.e. the Church, we find true communion, true unity and peace, thanks to the God that is a loving communion of three persons.  Let us beg our Eucharistic Lord to give us the perseverance to secure a merciful judgment and safe passage to the warm and healing rays of His love in the world to come.

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