All things that come to be in creation will also come to an end. Our earthly lives will one day come to an end. It is an inevitability. I read once somewhere that when we accept this fact, when we accept the inevitability of our own death, we no longer fear it. It becomes a friend encouraging us to live each day fully, as a pure gift. When we do this, we can wake every morning giving thanks to God for another day in which we can come to know him more dearly, in which we can try to live his commandment of love more clearly, in some small way, bringing his love to those who as yet do not know it in the world.
In reality, we are always in the presence of God, whether we know it or not. To know it, though, to know his love and grace are always with us, especially in the hardest of times, gives reason and purpose and, most importantly, joy to every day, indeed, to every moment of our lives. We know that death will come to our earthly lives, but we also know that death is not just an end, rather, it is a beginning. In faith, if we have lived our lives in accord with the law of love that Jesus showed us with his life and death on the cross, we know that death is nothing to us anymore. For those who have loved the world and all that is good, true, and beautiful in it; those who have loved God with every part of their being, and their neighbor as themselves, life is eternal.
As Christians we believe in the Last Day. We believe that Christ will come again to bring about the promise of the Kingdom of God, finally, and forever. Our faith in this Final Day does not fill us with fear, but with glorious anticipation. It is not in our purview to know the day or the time of Jesus’ Second Coming. We are not to worry about it, or try, to find the exact date by reading into the scriptures what is not there. Rather, we are to live our lives vigilantly, ready for it at all times. We “must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” ( Mt. 24:44) In other words, we are not to focus on the unknowable future, but to live fully awake, fully attentive to the now present moment. We are to be Jesus’ living disciples in thought, word, and deed, now, in every moment of our waking lives. Eternity touches us, is always present to us, in the now present moment. If we live our Christian lives fully now, each moment of each day, we will be doing as Jesus’ suggests to us here in this passage; we will be “awake” and we will be ready for his coming every day. In other words we are to live out of faith in Jesus’ promise, out of hope in the Kingdom to come, and out of love in all that we do now, in each moment of every day. In this way, we will be focused, not on the end, which is inevitable, but on each moment of our day. In doing this we will not paralyzed by irrational fears about the unknowable future over which we have no control at all. Rather, we will be engaged in living the gift of life each moment of every day in loving service to God and our neighbor. We will be alive. We will be awake. We will be ready, in every moment, for his Second Coming.
How do we prepare for the coming of the Lord on the Last Day? By practicing the living of each and every day as if he is with us now, in all that we do, in all those we meet, in every situation. We do this by praying more; on our knees as well as on our feet. We do it by developing a habit of daily praise and thanksgiving. We do it by choosing to live his commandment of love in all places, with every person, purposefully, honestly, and humbly. We know that we can not do this out of sheer human willpower. We know that we need the grace of God to be able to do this. He is eternally willing to give us that grace. All that is required of us is that we humbly open ourselves to that free grace. It is real. The more our faith grows in this knowledge, the less important our worries about the unknowable future become. What takes on importance is our willingness to be wide awake and fully alive with God’s love right now, in this and in every moment we are given. Christ will come again. The Last Day will one day come for all of creation. It is inevitable. Thanks be to God. If we are awake and alive right now in the knowledge of, and the love of Christ in all that we do, we will be prepared for that day when it comes.
Let this be so, Lord. Help us to be awake and alive in You every moment of every day. Help us to await your Second Coming by choosing to be in love with your Real Presence in every moment of our day, and in all that we do. Help us to live lives of joyful service to you and to our neighbors every day. We ask this in your holy name, Jesus. Amen.
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