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Thought for the weekend

 

By Fr Patrick McCafferty

As we come to the end of the Church's Liturgical Year, Christians consider the solemn realities of the eternal destiny of our immortal souls and our certain hope of the Second Coming of Our Lord.

We live in the world and must be busy there, bearing faithful witness to the Lord, in every aspect of life. At the same time, our eyes are, as it were, looking always beyond the visible world. The ears of our hearts are anxiously listening for the Master's footsteps, yearning for His return to us.

We must live in a constant state of alert readiness (Mark 13:33). The Lord has told us many times that we must "stand ready", fully prepared for that "Midnight" known only to God, when the great cry will resound across the earth, "the Bridegroom is here! Let us go out and meet Christ the Lord!" (Matthew 25:6).

We know that it will be as if a great trumpet blast is sounded from Heaven (Matthew 24:31) and it will signal the end of this world. The world, we are told, will be "rolled up", to be put away, like a garment that is no longer needed (Isaiah 51:6, Hebrews 1:11-12).

What we could see no end to, no resolution of, no remedy for, will be, for all eternity, settled. There will be infinite justice manifested, and the mercy that heals and saves will be as clear as the day. The Lord's Face will shine upon us forever (Revelation 22:5).

There will be judgement without mercy for those who have not been merciful (James 2:13) and He will reward with eternal salvation those who have waited for Him (Hebrews 9:28).

In the meantime, while we are waiting and watching, often in times of "unparalleled distress" (Daniel 12:1-2) and when darkness descends upon us so that the sun itself seems to have lost its light (Mark 13:24-25), the Church must keep the Lord ever in her sight (see Psalm 16:8), until she sees Him coming on the clouds with great power and glory" (Mark 13:26).

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Although "the darkness deepens", we follow the abiding "kindly Light, amidst the encircling gloom", knowing that the faithful are destined "to shine as brightly as the vault of Heaven, and those who have instructed many in virtue, as bright as stars for all eternity" (Daniel 12:3).

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