Belfast Telegraph

Thought for the weekend

Fr Patrick McCafferty, Corpus Christi Parish, Belfast 12

The Lord Jesus one day posed a question: "When the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?" As Christians, we live daily in the expectation of the Lord's glorious Second Coming as the Just Judge of all of the ages. He has told us this numerous times in the Gospels.

As Christians, we must live in a state of perpetual readiness for our own particular judgment after we die (Hebrews 9:27) and for the general judgement of all humankind on the Last Day, when God's justice will be manifested and declared for all eternity (see Revelation 20:11-15).

Whether the world is ready or not, whether people believe in it or not, "God has fixed a day" when He will judge the world with justice through His Son (Acts 17:31). That day is decided in Heaven and, when the ages have run their course, there will be no escaping that moment.

Whether people have faith or not, the Lord will come and "every eye shall see Him (Revelation 1:7)." Those who rejected Him shall see their Judge upon the Throne of Justice. There will be no defence and no excuses when His books are opened (II Corinthians 5:10).

The Lord Himself speculates as to whether He will find faith on earth at His return. Why is His Church surprised at the spiritual state of earth's inhabitants?

The Holy Spirit has also predicted a "great falling away" from the Faith and departure from God's Truth (II Thessalonians 2:3).

Wherein lies the "success" of the Church of Jesus Christ? Only insofar as this: "Proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. Refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience - but do all with patience and with the intention of teaching (II Timothy 4:2)."

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In this modern age it seems that the refutation of falsehood and the correction of error is a thankless and endless task. So be it. It is what the Lord requires. Happy those servants whom the Master finds at their employment (Luke 12:43). "The Lord did call me to be successful, but to be faithful (Mother Teresa)."

We should not be surprised that the world favours those things that are utterly incompatible with God's message and His Truth. Christians were never going to be popular anyhow. All that counts, at the end of the day, is our fidelity to God.

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