Friday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time
Daniel 7:2-14; Luke 21:29-33
Years ago, Kenny Chesney sang a song: “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go now.” When you discuss death and final judgment, most people freak out. The mention of these topics makes us face our fragility. It reminds us that any notion of invincibility we may have is an allusion. Reflecting on the familiar passage of St. John of the Cross, Madeleine L’Engle wrote: “In the evening of life we shall be judged on love, and not one of us is going to come off very well, and were it not for my absolute faith in the loving forgiveness of my Lord I could not call on him to come” (Madeleine L’Engle).
We live in a world that enslaves us to our past, whereas the Kingdom of God beckons us into a future of promise and hope. The One Who will judge us at the end of time is the One we have served all our lives and upon whose providence we have depended. The love of God assures us of God’s love for us. Love teaches us to be willing to endure pain and suffering for the sake of the kingdom. Recall these words written to Timothy: “If we endure, we will also reign with him” (2 Tim. 2:12). When the Lord returns in glory, we will be standing in the presence of the One Who loved us so much that He sent His only Son to rescue us from the evil in the world and in us. “And all of us who have had the veil removed can contemplate the glory of the Lord. And the Lord will transform us into His image with increasing glory. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).
The Synod Fathers expressed it this way: “[Jesus] showed the true meaning of mercy which implies the restoration of the Covenant. This appears clearly in his encounters with the Samaritan woman and the woman taken in adultery, in whom the awareness of sin is awakened in the presence of the gratuitous love of Jesus. Conversion is an ongoing commitment for the Church which embraces sinners in her midst and holy and at the same time in need of purification applies herself ceaselessly to penance and renewal. This striving for conversion is not a human activity alone. It is the dynamism of a contrite heart drawn and moved by grace in response to the merciful love of God who has loved us first. God offers the free gift of his forgiveness to anyone who is open to the action of his grace” (Final Relatio, #41; translated by Bishop Michael G. Campbell).
When we stand before the Flame of Divine Love, the whole mystery of the Cross will be revealed to us. Illumined by the Light of Love, our eyes will be opened and we shall be able to see clearly, knowing ourselves for the first time as we are known. We shall have the Light of Life and our faces will radiate the glory of the Lord. If we open ourselves to the power of His boundless and eternal love, then the Father will see in us what He sees and loves in His Son. Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner and when you come again in glory, remember me and receive me into your kingdom.