Our liturgical year in the church is drawing to a close. In two weeks we will begin a new year with the First Sunday of Advent. As we draw this year to a close, our readings turn to the end times when Jesus will come for the second time.
Jesus describes the end by saying, “In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light.” I see darkness coming. People are losing faith and morality is declining. There is much hatred and violence in the world. It is “a time unsurpassed in distress.”
What does the decline in faith and morality mean? How are we to read the signs of the times?
People have asked me if I think we are in the end times. Mindful of Jesus words, “But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father,” I do not know the answer to their question.
While I do not know if the Second Coming is about to happen, I do believe we are living at a critical time. I wonder if a turning point is coming. It could be a good turning point, leading us back to faith and morality. It might be a breaking point where everything is turned upside down and society breaks down. I pray for the former.
What I do know is that God has something wonderful planned for us (“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the Lord—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope” Jeremiah 29:11). While people may turn away from the Lord, the Lord never abandons us. God is ready to rescue us if we let him. Jesus offers the one perfect sacrifice for our sins.
Who will get into Heaven? Some people say everyone does because God always forgive. God is eager to forgive us but we have to ask. We have to accept the gift of his forgiveness. Unfortunately, not everyone does. In our first reading today (33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B) we hear, “some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.”
We face a great challenge. Temptation is real. We must ask God to give us our daily bread to have the strength we need to perceive against evil. Remember, Satan was defeated (Revelation 12). God was the victor. God did this through St. Michael the Archangel who is the guardian of God’s people. We can ask St. Michael to help us.
St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
You can read more about this Prayer to St. Michael in my blog article about it at http://blog.renewaloffaith.org/blog/?p=5350.