“Be on the watch. Pray constantly for the strength to escape whatever is in prospect.” —Luke 21:36
On this last day of the Church’s year, we read about the last day of all years. This last day is called the “great day.” Jesus warns us: “The great day will suddenly close in on you like a trap. The day I speak of will come upon all who dwell on the face of the earth” (Lk 21:34-35). If we watch and pray constantly for strength, we will stand secure before Jesus as He returns to take us off this burning planet into the perfect happiness of heaven (Lk 21:36; see also 2 Pt 3:10).
The last day will be great for us if we are strong. We will be strong if we pray constantly. We will pray constantly if we are “on the watch.” “Therefore, let us not be asleep like the rest, but awake and sober!” (1 Thes 5:6) We must “stay sober and alert,” for “the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pt 5:8). “Be on guard lest your spirits become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and worldly cares” (Lk 21:34). “Stay awake, therefore! You cannot know the day your Lord is coming” (Mt 24:42). “Be on guard, and pray that you may not undergo the test” (Mt 26:41).
We must be ready for this last day of the Church’s year to be the last day of our lives or the last day of all. Watch and pray.
Prayer: Jesus, come back today or as soon as possible. Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!) (see Rv 22:20)
Promise: “The kingship and dominion and majesty of all the kingdoms under the heavens shall be given to the holy people of the Most High, Whose kingdom shall be everlasting.” —Dn 7:27
Praise: Regina strives to live her life by the example of St. John Bosco, who stated that if he knew the world would end that day, he would continue to do what he was doing.
From a sermon
by Saint Augustine
[ 354 – 430 A.D. ]
Even here, among the dangers, among the trials and temptations of this life, both by others and by ourselves let alleluia be sung. God is faithful, he says, and he will not permit you to be tempted beyond what you are able to endure. So even here let us sing alleluia. Man is still a defendant on trial, but God is faithful. He did not say “he will not permit you to be tempted” but he will not permit you to be tempted beyond what you are able to endure; and with the temptation he will also make a way out, so that you may be able to endure it. You have entered into temptation; but God will also make a way out so that you do not perish in the temptation; so that like a potter’s jar you may be shaped by the preaching and fired into strength by the tribulation. But when you enter the temptation, bear in mind the way out: because God is faithful, God will watch over you and guard your going in and your coming out.Let us sing alleluia here on earth, while we are still anxious and worrying, so that we may one day be able to sing it there in heaven, without any worry or care. Why anxious and worrying here? You must want me to be anxious, Lord, when I read, Is not man’s life on earth a trial and a temptation? You must want me to worry when temptation is so plentiful that the Prayer itself tells us to worry, when we say, Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us. Every day we are petitioners, every day we are trespassers. Do you want me to throw care to the winds, Lord, when every day I am requesting pardon for sins and assistance against dangers? After all, when I have said, because of past sins, Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us, I must immediately go on to add, because of future dangers, Lead us not into temptation. And how can a people be in a good way, when they cry out with me, Deliver us from evil? And yet, my brethren, in this time that is still evil, let us sing alleluia to the good God, who does deliver us from evil.
Furthermore, when this body has become immortal and imperishable, when all temptation has been done away with; because the body is dead – why is it dead? – Because of sin. But the spirit is life, because of justice. So do we leave the body dead, then? No, but listen: But if the Spirit of him who raised Christ from the dead dwells within you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies. So you see: now the body receives its life from the soul, but then it will receive it from the Spirit.
O! what a happy alleluia there, how carefree, how safe from all opposition, where nobody will be an enemy, where no-one will ever cease to be a friend! God’s praises sung there, sung here – here, by the anxious; there, by the carefree – here, by those who will die; there, by those who will live for ever – here, in hope; there, in reality – here, on our journey; there, in our homeland.
So now, my brethren, let us sing, not to delight our leisure, but to ease our toil. In the way that travellers are in the habit of singing, sing, but keep on walking. What does it mean, “keep on walking”? Go onward always – but go onward in goodness, for there are, according to the Apostle, some people who go ever onward from bad to worse. If you are going onward, you are walking; but always go onward in goodness, onward in the right faith, onward in good habits and behaviour. Sing, and walk onwards.
|“The heavens and the earth will pass away, but My words will not pass.” —Luke 21:33|
In the USA, the day after Thanksgiving is known as “Black Friday,” and is one of the busiest shopping days of the entire year. Consumers flock to shopping malls in great throngs, looking for the best deals, hurrying from store to store to buy Christmas gifts for everyone on their list. At times the Black Friday atmosphere is so intense that people get manhandled in the frenzied rush to buy. However, the consumeristic secular culture is a “beast” (see Dn 7:7) which continually devours people who might otherwise prepare their hearts for Jesus during the time of Advent.
For Christians, every Friday is a reminder of Good Friday, the day when Jesus was crucified, bled, and died for our salvation. Jesus gave His life so that we may have life; He Who did not know sin took on the punishment of our sins so we could take on the holiness of God (2 Cor 5:21).
Shopping malls and “holiday” parties will pass away, as well as the earth, stars, and sky, but Jesus’ words will never pass away (Lk 21:33). “Why spend your money” for what will not last, “your wages for what fails to satisfy?” (Is 55:2) “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rm 12:2). Let Jesus transfer you from Black Friday to Good Friday. Spend your time on what will not pass away.
|Prayer: Father, I know I cannot be attentive both to the things of this world and to You (Mt 6:24). Help me to choose Jesus today.|
|Promise: “Know that the reign of God is near.” —Lk 21:31|
|Praise: Jane experienced a profound renewal of the Holy Spirit when she began attending daily Mass.|