Dear Friends in Jesus Christ…,
The first reading and the gospel challenge us to get our feet wet and roll up our sleeves and start working for he will return. Listen again to what we heard in the gospel “In those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the end of the sky.
Listen again what we heard in the first reading, “In those days…there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people; it shall be a time unsurpassed in distress…At that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book.” How comfortably can you read these scripture passages?
What do you think when you hear the first phrase “in those days”? Are you thinking of distant future days to come? Then you are greatly mistaken. It can be today or tomorrow or ten-days later or ten years later. But we don’t know the day or time. But one thing we know that only those names are written in his book will be saved. I have come up on this beautiful homily of Fr. James Gilhooley. And I would like to share it with you.
In 1981, a man left $57,000 in his will to Jesus. It was for His own use when He returned at the Second Coming. The money was to be invested at the highest interest in the meantime. Does anyone really think that Jesus will be shopping at a posh department store for a new seamless robe and sandals upon His return? Does anyone feel money is what He shall require from us at the Parousia? Is this what the Nazarene is all about? Christ is more interested in the way we conduct our lives this moment rather than tomorrow. He is more eager to see us improve life for others today than He is to remove us from it. Andrew Greeley has some wise thoughts on this point. The Second Coming, the New Age, the New Epoch, he says, can and should be happening throughout this day and week. I saw the Second Coming at a Soup Kitchen where I worked. A white woman volunteer gave a black man soup, pasta, and coffee. As he was leaving, he thanked her. Then she noticed the bad condition of his shoes. She told him to wait. From the clothing closet, she brought several pair. The woman got down on her knees and fitted each pair. Finally, she found his fit. In this forty-minute encounter, Jesus in His Second Coming was present. I was watching Him washing His apostles’ feet all over again. I witnessed the New Age today at a fast-food restaurant. A busload of children treated their waitress with kindness. “Please” and “thank you” were more plentiful than hamburgers and cokes. They cleaned their table. They left a generous tip and made a waitress happy. There was no doubt but that the Lord was present. I see the New Epoch every time one of you gives me $100 and asks me to give it to a family having a difficult time. If one looks sharp enough, you can see a smile on Christ’s face. I observed the New Order yesterday. I was lost and could not find the correct road. I asked directions of a young man. Though he was in as much a hurry as I, he U-turned and told me to follow him for several miles. Then he put my car on the correct road. Can you not hear Jesus applaud as I tell you this story? I heard of the Second Coming yesterday. A mother told me of her return from a long journey. On her kitchen table, she found a dozen carnations waiting to greet her. The benefactor was her teen son. That day she saw Christ in her boy. I saw the New Epoch last week: a priest had heard that some unfriendly voices in a parish were gleefully giving another priest, whom he hardly knew, a hard time. He phoned. “May I buy you a good lunch?” The trip cost him not only the restaurant bill but also a round trip of 140 miles, and over half a tank of gas. Was not the Nazarene riding with him that day? You, I am sure, can fill in the blanks and tell me of the times when you saw the Second Coming this past week. And hopefully you were the cause of it.
Let us recognize the “second coming” of Jesus in our daily lives through everyday occurrences, always remembering that Jesus comes without warning. But let us not get frightened at the thought of Christ’s Second Coming because he is with us every day in the Holy Eucharist, in the Holy Bible and in our worshipping communities. We will be able to welcome him in his Second Coming as long as we faithfully do the will of God daily by serving our brothers and sisters, by recognizing Christ’s presence in them, and by being reconciled with God and with our brothers and sisters every day.
We need to “learn the lesson from the fig tree.” This means that we are to watch and wait in a state of readiness. Instead of worrying about the end time events, we are asked to live every day of our lives loving God living in others, by our committed service to them with sacrificial love.
God Bless You,