Deacon Steven Johnson’s Reflection 11-24-22

For the 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 11-24-22, Year C
Readings: Rv 18:1-2, 21-23, 19:1-3,9a; Ps 100:1b-2,3,4,5; Gospel Lk 21:20-28
Memorial: St Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs
Theme:  Be Prepared, Do Not be Afraid

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

As we near the end of our Church liturgical year, our readings for these past weeks are focused on the end of time as we know it. Jesus is speaking to His disciples about the end times and how terrible they will be. He explains that it will be frightening and will test their resolve and their faith. But Jesus comforts them by saying, “But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”

We are reminded today why we pray, why we attend Mass, and why we help the poor. We are reminded why we read the Gospels and learn how to love God and each other. We are reminded why we ask for forgiveness in reconciliation and why we receive Jesus’s body and blood in the Holy Eucharist at the sacrifice of the Mass. It is all about being prepared for the day of reckoning when Jesus comes in the clouds with a loud trumpet blast. Our redemption will only be at hand if we have prepared ourselves for that day through these reminders of love for God and our neighbor.

When that day finally comes, it will be too late for those who are not prepared or did not live a life of goodness, penance, and devotion to our Lord. There will be no more time for them to ask for forgiveness and to be healed. It is a sobering reminder of what we must do today, not tomorrow, not the next day, but today.

St. John speaks in Revelations of the defeat of the great harlot (Roman Empire), which symbolized all that is evil. The lamb of God will come with the angels in heaven and put all evil under His feet with everlasting destruction. For those who are left on that day, those who believed in Jesus and did His will with good works, will be saved. Those who did not will be lost. It will be a separation of the sheep from the goats with the sheep going to heaven with Christ and the goats being thrown into the everlasting flames of hell.

It all can be overwhelming and scary, and so it must be. We cannot take these teachings too lightly. The time is now to prepare and put your soul on the right path to heaven in anticipation of Christ’s second coming.

One of the ways we can prepare ourselves is to be thankful to God for all he has bestowed on us. On this Thanksgiving Day, we have a lot to be thankful for. We should be thankful for the love of God and His teachings. We should be thankful for the gift of life that all of us who were born into this world have. We should be thankful for the gift of love God gave us to share with each other. And we should be thankful for the gift of humility in knowing that everything we were, everything we are today, and everything we will ever be, comes from God. And most of all, we should be thankful for Jesus’s 

suffering, death, and resurrection on the cross for the forgiveness of sins so that we all have a chance to be chosen and live in heaven for eternity.

These readings are sobering but take joy in them as they are a gift to you in advance so you may be prepared for the day Jesus reaches out His hand to you to pull you up into His embrace saying, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” Praise be Jesus Christ, now and forever!

Have a wonderful, happy, and God-filled Thanksgiving with all the blessings He has bestowed on you and yours!

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL