This penultimate Sunday of the liturgical year reminds us not only of the end of the liturgical year, but also of the end of all things, and of the preparations we need to make to attain eternal life. The readings give us the assurance that our God will be with us always. We will have the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst, guiding, protecting and strengthening us in spite of our necessary uncertainty concerning the end time when “Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” Each year at this time, the Church asks us to consider the “last things” – Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell.
The first reading is taken from the Book of Daniel. The purpose of the book was to give comfort and hope to the Chosen People who were persecuted by a cruel pagan king for their faith. The reading advises us to live wisely and justly in the present time, instead of worrying about the unknown future. The author of Hebrews in the second reading, challenges us to look to the future with hope and serenity because Jesus, who sits forever at God’s right hand, is the mediator who has secured the forgiveness of our sins and our sanctification through His sacrifice on the cross. The second reading from last Sunday presents Jesus as a mediator between God and His people, and in this sense this reading is a hope and assurance.
The Gospel reading offered hope to early Christians persecuted by the Roman Emperor Nero, reminding them of Jesus’ words about His glorious return to earth with great power and glory as Judge to gather and reward his elect. The first reading and Gospel continue to remind us that God will ensure that the righteous will survive the ordeal and will find a place with Him. Through the parable of the fig tree, Jesus warns us all to read the “signs of the time,” reminding us that we must be ever prepared to give an accounting of our lives to Jesus when He comes in glory as our Judge. We need to be prepared because we do not know “either the day or the hour” of His Second Coming.
The promise of His second coming must help us to prepare, prepare with hope. How do we prepare? Let us not fear the thought of Christ’s Second Coming because He is with us every day in the Holy Eucharist, in the Holy Bible, in our worshipping communities, and in our families. Therefore, the purpose of the readings is not to frighten us but to remind us of the reality of His coming. 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 agape love.
Next Thursday is Thanksgiving. I wish you all our parishioners a Happy Thanksgiving. We have a special Mass on Thanksgiving Day at 9:00 am. I invite you to join me in thanking the Lord for the many blessings that the Lord has showered upon us, our families and our parish community. On this wonderful day, I encourage you to spend some quality time with your family and friends. I love Thanksgiving, not only because there is a lot of good food, but also because it is a great opportunity to connect with family and friends. On this day, we come together at the Eucharistic table to express our gratitude to Almighty God for His many blessings upon us, our families, and our country.
Thanksgiving is a good opportunity to take a moment to consider all the blessings we have received from God, to be thankful for those blessings, and to consider how we might share those blessings with others. I thank God for our recently completed roofing project. Last week we did the final walk through on the roof and then made the last payment of 10% after completing a few minor items on the roof. I am so grateful to God and you for your support and encouragement.
People have been asking me as what is next. I have decided not to take up any major construction projects in the next few years. But it is hard in a place like ours where the facility is over 60 years old. The other day a few shingles from the hall roof were rotten and blew off. You can also see shingles popping up in several places on the hall roof. The roofers inspected it and advised us to replace it as soon as possible. We have several bids and might do the work during the Christmas school break. I will not be doing any fund raising but may use some of the parish savings which we have been accumulating for the last several years.
During this season of Thanksgiving and then Christmas people sometimes give larger, one-time gifts because they have a special project in mind, or they give for sentimental reasons because they love this parish community and God has been so gracious to them. Others give because they are seeking a significant tax deduction, and they want to see their hard-earned money used locally, in a positive and concrete way. In all cases, people should give because they know that nothing we have is ours, but is a gift from God. God gives to us because He loves us and trusts that we will share our blessings with others. So, if anyone is looking for a cause, I believe that reroofing the parish hall is a good cause and it will help us to protect the hall for our children and grandchildren. For any questions with regard to project please call Bob Ulrich, our business manager at 619-463-6629. Happy Thanksgiving and God bless!