Year A: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Second Reading: Thessalonians 5: 1-6
The Reading today reflects the feeling of the coming of the end times - or what St Paul calls the day of the Lord. The technical term for this kind of teaching is eschatology (esk-a-tology). Such teaching forms a thread that runs through the letters of Paul and the other apostles - through the section of Matthew’s Gospel we are now reading - through the Book of Revelation (or Apocalypse as it is sometimes called) - and is one of the central threads that runs through Advent.
The early Christians lived with a lively sense of the coming of the day of the Lord - and longed for it.
We have lost something of that enthusiasm - perhaps because we have lost the sense that when that Day comes, Christ will establish a reign of healing - peace - justice - integrity - and so on... We are so caught up in day-to-day living that it is hard to have room to contemplate the “eschatological” events that will mark the end of time as we know it and heralds a whole new way of being.
This is understandable - but it means that we may lose something that encourages hope and expectation. In the daily grind, we can become bored and disillusioned - we may wonder what life is about. Eschatology offers us a new way of looking at things.
Yes, the Day of the Lord will bring judgement - but, as St Paul says, we are children of the light and the day and, by continuing to live in faithfulness to His teachings, we can look forward to meeting Jesus without fear.
We can also look forward to the Day when all our hopes and dreams - for ourselves and the world - will be fulfilled - when hunger and thirst are no more - loneliness and tears are wiped away...where evil is finally vanquished...
Such is “eschatology” - such is our hope - and just as - when the time is right, a woman goes into labour and her child is born - so one day, the world’s pregnancy will come to term - and the new era for which creation is straining will be born.
What does it mean for me?
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