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Tag Archives: THE END TIME

LUKE 21:33 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 21:29-33)

Jakarta, 26 November 2021

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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LUKE 21:27-28 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 21:20-28)

Jakarta, 25 November 2021

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THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN

THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN

(A biblical reflection on the 33rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [Year B] – 14 NOVEMBER, 2021)

Gospel Reading: Mark 13:24-32

First Reading: Daniel 12:1-3; Psalms: Psalm 16:5,8-11; Second Reading: Hebrews 10:11-14,18

The Scripture Text

“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send out the angels, and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that He is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, before all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

“But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time with come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Watch therefore – for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning – lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch.”(Mark 13:24-32 RSV)

Every now and then people speculate and try to predict the end of the world. And, we could find doomsday prophets keep coming and going – but the end of the world has not come.

As we are about to end the Church calendar, the Gospel message this Sunday douses cold water on all predictions and prognostications. Listen to the words of Jesus Christ: “But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32).

Instead of frittering away precious time speculating on the end of the world, Jesus Christ exhorts us to live as Christians in the present. What matters is NOW!

A Catholic priest was once playing badminton with a friend. During the break, their talk shifted to a more serious vein with his partner asking, “Father, suppose the end of the world suddenly came and we were out there playing, what would you do? Get down on your knees and pray? The priest paused for a moment and said, “I’d go right on playing.”

What the priest is trying to say is that one should not worry about the end of the world. Worry rather whether or not you are holding on to your faith or living as a Christian should despite the harsh adversities.

According to the Scriptures, on Judgment Day we shall be judged on the question: What have you done for people in need? (please read Matthew 25:31-46). How about us? Have we enough good works to deliver us from the fires of hell?

As we end the Church’s calendar this month, it might be wise and proper to pause and do some soul-searching. Am I preoccupied only with my personal needs, caprices and pleasures? Do I have time for God, my family, and for some outreach project? Am I contributing to building Christian communities of justice, love and peace or am I the cause of pain and suffering to others?

Everything we do now has eternal consequences. Judgment will be nothing else but God’s confirmation of the choices, decisions or actions we have made in life. What we sow now, we reap later.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, when we truly respond to Your love by loving one another, then already now, in this world, we receive Your blessing. Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be Your holy name, now and for ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 13 November 2021

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THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN

THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN

(A biblical refection on the FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT [Year A] – 1 December 2019)

Gospel Reading: Matthew 24:37-44 

First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalms: Psalm 122:1-2,4-9; Second Reading: Romans 13:11-14 

The Scripture Text

As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is  left. Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:37-44 RSV)

Christians usually call Jesus “the Son of God” but that was not Jesus’ favorite to describe Himself. Jesus actually preferred the title ”Son of Man”, which occurs 82 times in the Gospels. To this day, Scripture scholars cannot agree about what this title means.

The book of Daniel and another Jewish writing called the Similitudes of Enoch contain the term “Son of Man”. In both places, it refers to a Messiah-like figure God will send at the end of the world to bring salvation and judgment to all people. Some scholars believe this term applies to an individual while others think it stands for Israel. Jesus may have used this title to identify Himself as the Messiah.

Some of the Jewish people expected the Messiah to be a political and military figure who would lead them in battle against their enemies. They believed he would be a human being who, because he was gifted with God’s own Spirit, would be victorious in battle and would conquer the world. Through him, God would  establish a new order in the world, in which there would be no more wars, famines, or evil of any kind. This new order is what some Jews called “the reign of God” or “The Kingdom of God”.

Although Jesus did not fight any human enemies, He did score a victory over the most powerful enemy, the devil, and He promised to return one day to finish the job. When that happens, God will be in complete control of the world, and because the reign of God will be here in its entirety, there won’t be any more wars or evil of any kind.

In today’s Gospel, when Jesus tells us to prepare for the coming of the Son of Man He is really telling us to prepare for His own return. We do not know when this will happen so we must always be ready.

Two sentences in today’s Gospel particularly interest some Christian groups. Jesus says that two men will be in the field and two women will be at the grindstone. One man and one woman will be taken and the other two will be left. Because of this passage, some Christians believe that at Jesus’ second coming He will snatch up bodily those who are faithful to Him and will take them to heaven so they will spared the suffering that will take place at the end of the world. This is what some Christians call “th rapture”.

If the world ended today, would we (you and I) be ready to meet Jesus, the Messiah? How will you and your family use this Advent season to prepare for Jesus’ return?

(Adapted from Jerome J. Sabatowich, Cycling Through the Gospels – Gospel Commentaries for Cycles A, B, and C, pages 2-3.)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want to devote Advent to preparing for Your coming into the world. Help me to immerse myself in Your love through the sacraments, prayer, Scripture, and repentance. Let the darkness of my sins give way to Your irresistible light. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Jakarta, 30 November 2019 [Feast  of Saint Andrew, Apostle]  

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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REDEMPTION IS AT HAND: 1st SUNDAY OF ADVENT [YEAR C) – Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Jakarta, 2 December 2018

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THE SECOND COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

THE SECOND COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

(A biblical reflection on the FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT [Year C] – 2 December 2018)

Gospel Reading: Luke 21:25-28,34-36 

First Reading: Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalms: Psalm 25:4-5,8-10,14; Second Reading: 1Thessalonians 3:12 – 4:2 

The Scripture Text

“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 

“But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:25-28,34-36 RSV)

Unlike the calendar year, which begins on January 1, the Church’s liturgical year begins on the first Sunday of Advent. Each new Church year uses a different set of Sunday Scripture readings.

Most of the Gospel readings for the Sundays of the next twelve months will be from the Gospel according to Luke. So let’s begin this liturgical year by examining what we know about the author of this Gospel.

Scripture scholars are certain the author of Luke’s Gospel also wrote the Acts of the Apostles, a book about the early Church. However, nowhere in either of these writings does the author tell us his name. Irenaeus, a bishop living at the end of the second century, was the first to identify the author as Luke, a companion of St. Paul.

Epistles attributed to Paul mention Luke three times and one of these passages calls him a physician, meaning he probably made salves and other medicines out of herbs and roots. Luke was not an apostle and, therefore, was not eyewitness to the events he records.

Scripture scholars believe Luke probably wrote his Gospel around 85 A.D. and, like the Acts of the Apostles, he addressed it to a man called Theophilus, a name meaning “friend of God”. Some biblical scholars suggest Theophilus may haave been a wealthy nobleman who provided the papyrus scroll (quite expensive in those days) on which Luke wrote the Gospel but other scholars hypothesize he was not a real person at all but was a character Luke created as a symbol of all Christians who were friends of God.

Today’s Gospel begins with Jesus talking about the end of the world (another example of the same apocalyptic writing style we found in the Gospel reading a couple weeks ago) and it warns us to remain watchful and pray constantly because the great day when Jesus will return will suddenly close in on us. We should not be caught unprepared.

Most of us usually associate Advent with getting for the arrival of the baby Jesus but that’s not what this liturgical season is all about. The soft and cuddly baby born in a manger has already come and gone. Today’s Gospel tells us to prepare for Jesus’ second coming, His arrival as the triumphant ruler of the universe. Therefore, during Advent, Christians should anxiously prepare for the return of the adult Jesus.

(Adapted from Jerome J. Sabatowich, Cycling Through the Gospels – Gospel Commentaries for Cycles A, B, and C, pages 232-233.) 

Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me prepare for the coming of Your Son. I want to accept the grace that He won for me. During this season of expectation, fill my heart with Your love and my mind with Your truth. Amen.

Jakarta, 1 December 2018 

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THE SECOND COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 21:34-36 – THIRTY-FOURTH WEEK OF THE YEAR: Saturday, 1 December 2018

Jesus speaks about the suddenness of the end. The early Church expected an immediate parousia.

The doctrine of the Lord’s return has often been misinterpreted as a justification for non-involvement in efforts to care for the needy and to remedy social ills. This is not the position of the Church. We cannot sit with our hands folded waiting for Jesus to return to extirpate sin and wrongdoing. He also comes to us for an accounting.

Our goal as individual Christians and as a Church is to prepare the way for the Lord’s return. We are to turn people to the Lord, expose them to the life-giving sacramental waters and plant the seed of the Word deep into their hearts.

The Church’s role is not to pretend to be the new Jerusalem of God’s final act of creation. Our purpose as a Church and a parish is to prepare people for whom and to whom the Lord will return. In every dark night, our role is to point to the coming morning.

We are not called simply await the Second Coming. We are called to prepare for it.

Jakarta, 1 December 2018

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Posted by on December 1, 2018 in TODAY'S THOUGHT 2018

 

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THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST

THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST

(A biblical refection on the 33rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [YEAR B] – 18  NOVEMBER 2018)

Gospel Reading: Mark 13:24-32 

First Reading: Daniel 12:1-3; Psalms: Psalm 16:5,8-11; Second Reading: Hebrews 10:11-14,18 

The Scripture Text

“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send out the angels, and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that He is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, before all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

“But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time with come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Watch therefore – for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning – lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch.” (Mark 13:24-32 RSV)

Today’s Gospel is an example of apocalyptic writing, a special type of literature that uses symbolic language and deals with both a specific historical situation as well as the end of time. For instance, some biblical scholars believe the words in today’s Gospel describe what happened when the Romans captured Jerusalem in 70 A.D. but many people also think this reading refers to the end of the world.

Because enemies were usually persecuting the intended audience, the authors of apocalyptic writings used symbolic language to give hope without risking increased persecution should the writing fall into the wrong hands. For instance, if the author simply tried to encourage his people to persevere by saying the king will one day die and his oppressive tactics will end, there was the possibility the king may intercept his writing and persecute his subjects even more because of it. However, if the author writes that the lion (the king) with the ten horns (symbolizing power) will one day be slain, the king will not know what this means and will probably dismiss it as gibberish.

The author of the words in today’s Gospel reading addresses early Christians whom the Romans were persecuting and killing because of their faith in the risen Lord. Mark tells them that even though they have to endure many terrifying ordeals (the reference to the sun and the moon being darkened is symbolic apocalyptic language for trials and tribulations) they should remain faithful to Jesus who promises to save them. Mark quotes Jesus as saying that even if heaven and earth pass away, He will still fulfill His promise to be with them in their time of need.

We have to remember that authors of apocalyptic literature wrote to give hope, not to instil fear. The message of apocalyptic writings is that no matter how bad the situation becomes, God will intervene in history and will vindicate those who remain faithful to Him. Therefore, anyone who uses apocalyptic writings like the book of Revelation to scare us is either deliberately misusing Scripture or really does not understand it.

According to New Testament apocalyptic writings, those of us who believe in Jesus have nothing to fear because He is more powerful than anything else. All we need to do is put our faith and trust in Him and He’ll take care of the rest. Do you trust the Lord enough to do that or do you tend to rely on your own power and abilities?

(Adapted from Jerome J. Sabatowich, Cycling Through the Gospels – Gospel Commentaries for Cycles A, B, and C, pages 222-223.)

Prayer: Jesus, I trust in You, I give You my burdens and ask You to help me bear them. Teach me to be always confident in Your presence. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Jakarta, 16 November 2018 

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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JESUS WANTS TO BUILD EACH OF US INTO A GLORIOUS TEMPLE

JESUS WANTS TO BUILD EACH OF US INTO A GLORIOUS TEMPLE

 (Biblical reflection on the 33rd Ordinary Sunday [Year C] – November 17, 2013) 

Gospel Reading: Luke 21:5-19 

First Reading: Malachi 3:19-20; Psalms: Psalm 98:5-9; Second Reading: 2Thessalonians 3:7-12 

Brooklyn_Museum_-_Reconstruction_of_Jerusalem_and_the_Temple_of_Herod_(Réconstitution_de_Jérusalem_et_du_temple_d'Hérode)_-_James_Tissot

Scripture Text:

Tissot_Solomon_Dedicates_the_Temple_at_JerusalemAnd as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, He said, “As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” And they asked Him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?” And He said, “Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and, ‘The time is at hand1’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once.” 

Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for My name’s sake. This will be a time for you to bear testimony. Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put death; you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives. (Luke 21:5-19 RSV) 

God is the great master builder. He created the universe and formed each of us according to a perfect plan – to fill us with divine life and bring us into His presence. Isn’t it incredible that God loves us so much?

Jesus wanted to build His disciples into women and men of faith who would hunger for God’s ways above their own. But He knew that in order for this to happen, some things in them would have to be stripped away. Many of their ways of thinking were not in harmony with the wisdom of God. We see an example of Jesus trying to influence their thinking in the way He responded to their fascination with the Temple (Luke 21:5). While they were caught up in the Temple’s splendor, Jesus told them that a time would come when it would be utterly destroyed. What a difference! Jesus was concerned about the worship that went on inside the Temple, and they could not get past us size and majesty.

ROH KUDUS MELAYANG-LAYANG - 2Every time we celebrate Mass, Jesus wants to build us into a glorious temple. And that means He must strip away worldly thinking in us. Some things may be so obvious that a heartfelt prayer during the Penitential Rite (Latin: Confiteor) may be all we need. But in other areas, our worldly values may be too subtle to recognize. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit. So can we give Him the freedom to do whatever it takes to set us free?

At Mass today, let us ask Jesus to come and strip away areas of resistance to His ways. Let us ask Him to remove everything that distracts us from His love. Then, as we become more and more free, we will also become more and more satisfied by the Bread of Life we receive!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You said that unless You build the house, those who labor do so in vain (Psalm 127:1). Dear Father, I want You to build me into the person You created me to be. Strip away all that is not of You so that I may become a place where Your glory dwells! Amen. 

Jakarta, 15th of November 2013 

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Posted by on November 16, 2013 in BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS 2013

 

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APOCALYPSE

APOCALYPSE

(A biblical refection on THE 33rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – 18 November, 012) 

First Reading: Dan 12:1-3; Psalms: Ps 16:5,8,9-11; Second Reading: Heb 10:11-14,18; Gospel Reading: Mk 13:24-32 

Vision of the future. The leader of a certain Indian tribe was dying. For many generations his people had been encamped at the base of a large mountain. The chief summoned his three sons and said: “I am dying; before my death I must choose one of you to succeed me as the head of our tribe. I have the same task for each of you. I want you to climb our holy mountain and bring me back something beautiful. The one whose gift is the most outstanding will be the one who will succeed me.”

The following morning the sons set out on their search, each taking a different path to the top of the holy mountain. After several days the three sons returned. The first brought his father a flower which grew near the summit of the mountain; it was extremely rare and beautiful. The second son brought his father a valuable stone round and colourful, which had been polished by rain and sandy winds. When the third son approached his father, everyone saw that his hand were empty.

The empty-handed son said to his father: “I have brought back nothing to show you, father. As I stood on the top of the holy mountain, I saw that on the other side was a beautiful land filled with green pastures. In the middle of there is a crystal lake. And I have a vision of where our tribe could go for a better life. I was so overwhelmed with what I saw and by what I could see that I could not bring anything back.” And the father replied: “You shall be our tribe’s new leader, for you have brought back the most precious thing of all – the gift of a vision for a better future.”

Apocalypse. In the pages of the Bible there are many stories of great figures who, as they see their death approaching, gather their children or followers to give a final testament. Before Jacob died, he called his twelve sons to give an appropriate blessing to each one. The dying Moses encouraged his people to be strong and stand firm, then appointed his successor to lead the twelve tribes. Before King David ended his days, he addressed the officials of Israel and passed authority to his son Salomon. In the same way Jesus, before he died, gathered his disciples and delivered his final teaching on the future age, instructing them how to live in the midst of political and cosmic upheavals. Part of Jesus’ final testament is wheat we hear in today’s Gospel.

It’s helpful to remember that Saint Mark is writing at a time when there is widespread oppression and persecution of the Christian community in Rome. No doubt Jesus’ followers are wondering if the end is near, uncertain in their suffering how things are going to turn out. Nobody knows the details of the las pages of history, but there is a form of writing that imagines the end time: it is called apocalyptic. To give his readers hope, Mark gives them Jesus’ vision of the future.

The vision of the future doesn’t look very appealing at first reading. The bad news is delivered first of all. Jesus imagines a time of terror and trouble and persecution. People will be betrayed and handed over to the authorities. There will be wars and earthquakes and famines. Jesus says, “These things must happen.” Then there will be cosmic upheavals: “the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its brightness, the stars will come falling from heaven”. After this catalogue of disaster there is the good news. Jesus looks beyond the time of distress to the final time, when the Son of Man will gather the scattered people of God to Himself. Jesus sees beyond suffering and persecution to a future of peace with God.

Attending to the present. After the cosmic fireworks, Jesus imagines a peace beyond suffering. This vision of peace is important for Mark’s persecuted community: they need more than a fireworks’ display to see them through their own historical apocalypse. If their hope is not to be exhausted by force of circumstances, they need help to imagine a far side to pain and suffering. Mark gives their hope help in sharing Jesus’ vision. For that is the purpose of all apocalyptic writing: to fund the hope of those who suffer in the present.

In the meantime, we have to depend on the promise of Jesus: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” No one, not even the Son, knows when all this will take place. The only sure thing we can hold to is the word of Jesus.

We live in an age of uncertainty; the future never looks wholly secure. In a nuclear age the word of Jesus holds out a vision that takes us beyond our worst beginnings. There is a place beyond the duty to strive for peace, but it does free us from the blasphemy of believing that a nuclear holocaust will be the last word in the human story. There is only one final word: Jesus. That word has to be enough for us.

Note: Taken from Fr. Denis McBride CSsR, SEASONS OF THE WORD – Reflections on the Sunday Readings, Chawton, Alton, Hants.: Redemptorist Publications, 1993 (Third Printing), pages 366-367. 

Palembang, South Sumatera, 18 November 2012

 

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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