Next Sunday, we shall celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Universal King who will, when earthly life ends, show us the eternity which that life has pointed us towards. If we have tried to, ‘...know, love and serve God...’, then Christ will be able to call us to, ‘...be happy with Him forever...’.
In today’s second reading, Saint Paul (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6) delivers a timely warning of the foolishness of presuming that one can live as one pleases in this life and still count on attaining Heaven. We must, ‘Be Prepared!’ Scripture contains ample warnings to anyone who chooses a self-centred life at variance with God’s Wise and Just Laws, such as the man who rejoiced in his material wealth and prosperity only to be told, ‘...Fool! This night your Soul is required of you!’ (Luke 12:20). The story of Dives and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) warns of the danger to one’s soul of amassing personal wealth while failing to aid those who lack even basic necessities. Paul cautions us that death can come, ‘...like a thief in the night...’ i.e. when one may be unprepared for it.
We have recently remembered men and women killed in war. We, rightly, remember the members of our Armed Forces but, of course, many more souls found themselves before God's 'Judgement Seat': those civilians killed, for instance, in the Blitz or those who died in an instant at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
We seem, regularly, to hear news of sudden and unexpected deaths in events such as terrorist attacks. We have recently commemorated the anniversary of the Croydon tram derailment. No-one can guarantee that they will have time to ‘put their affairs in order’. However this is not something to grow morbid about or to despair of. We are, simply, being warned to ‘...stay wide awake and be sober...’ i.e. always keep in mind that earthly life is but a preparation for Eternity, divesting oneself of the treasures of this world in order to amass ‘Treasure in Heaven’. We recently celebrated the Memorial of Saint Martin de Porres. Considered ‘inferior’ by those who counted themselves as ‘superior’ at the time, he was, in fact, richer than his detractors in what really counts with God, namely Grace and Charity. We can learn many lessons from this Holy man.
Saint Augustine underlined the vital role each of us is expected to play in our Salvation when he famously (at that time referring specifically to the Just War doctrine) exhorted peacemakers to ‘Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you!’ It is a sobering consideration that Peace, or the lack of it, comes from within ourselves. As the proverb states, ‘Charity begins at Home!’. Through the Church, Mass and Sacraments we are offered abundant help. Please God we will avail ourselves of this Treasure and, ‘Walk in the Light of the Lord’.
From St. Bart's
Thoughts on the traditional teachings, devotions, seasons and matters of the Catholic Church