Sunday Scriptures

Trade Your Anxieties for Joyful Anticipation of the Lord’s Coming

by Father Caleb Buchanan
 

“My Lord, what a morning! My Lord, what a morning! My Lord, what a morning, when the stars begin to fall!”
This beautiful hymn is sung during the Advent season in many places because it stirs our hearts to anticipate the day of the coming of the Lord, the Parousia, the second coming of Christ Jesus at the end of all things to render final judgment on the living and the dead. At that time, the Lord Jesus Christ will lead the faithful remnant of God’s people, those who have lived the Gospel consistently into life forever celebrated in a new heaven and a new earth.
Jesus Christ is coming back again! As another praise song declares “Glory, Hallelujah! Praise His name and lift Him up! P-R-A-I-S-E GOD! He’s coming back again!” And on that day, “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together!” It is the joyful and faith-filled anticipation of the day of the Lord’s coming that is the genuine hallmark of our Christian faith!
As a Eucharistic people we celebrate, with the author of today’s Letter to the Hebrews, Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice of His Body and Blood and death on the cross as the greatest sacrifice of all the High Priests. His sacrifice superseded the sacrifices and priesthood of the earthly cult of the Jewish Temple. The perfect, once and for all sacrifice of Jesus frees us from sin in time and eternity and destroys our death by His own death and resurrection.
The author reminds us that this solidly enthrones Jesus as the Lord who reigns gloriously until the day of His second coming when “his enemies” will be “set as a stool for his feet!”
This Jesus Christ is the Lord of history, the Lord of the cosmos, the Lord of the ages! On the day of His coming, Daniel reminds us in today’s first reading that the just, wise and faithful among God’s people will shine like stars in the sky brightly and for all eternity. On the other hand, those among the wicked will be punished and disgraced. We are deeply connected to the rest of creation. Our moral lives will be set back into right relationship with God and all creation.
Daniel reminds us that the righteous who have already died should await final judgment and resurrection. We join the faithful consoled by Daniel’s words knowing that life sanctified by the grace of God can lead us to a merciful judgment and our own resurrection from the dead.
Jesus Himself in the Gospel of St. Mark acknowledges that great morning when the “stars” will “begin to fall.” Those stars signal that the end is truly near. His apostles and disciples took this very seriously. They believed He was coming back to them in their earthly lifetime. Jesus acknowledges that He is coming back one day as the “Son of Man coming in the clouds” with power and glory. That power and glory will move through great tribulation since all things must conform to Him and be subject to Him.
Evil powers in the heavens, on earth and under the earth will be shaken from their thrones and their rule, thank God, will be no more! This Son of Man, when He comes back again, will gather us from the east, west, north and south to be permanently, irrevocably and finally delivered from every sin, evil, devil, bondage and darkness. With Daniel, we can anticipate an experience of joy even greater than that of our ancestors freed from slavery in Egypt. 
Trade your anxieties about the troubles around us and the end of the world for a new dynamic faith anticipating the Lord’s presence and victory every day of our lives. With today’s Psalmist, we ask for the Lord’s protection as we await His second coming and practice our faith in Him with joy: “Preserve me, God, for in you do I take refuge!”

 

Readings for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Daniel 12: 1-3
Psalm 16: 5, 8, 9-10, 11
Hebrews 10: 11-14, 18
Mark 13: 24-32

Father Caleb Buchanan is the new administrator of St. Laurence Church, Spring Creek; diocesan coordinator of the Vicariate of Black Catholic Concerns; and chaplain of Medgar Evers College.

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