Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Today is the last Sunday in the church calendar, a calendar developed over centuries to review the life and works of Jesus Christ in a year. It starts with the season of Advent, preparation for Christmas. It concludes with reflection on the second coming of Christ, the only prophecy that has not been fulfilled.
Christ fulfilled all the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. He was born of a virgin, as a descendant of Abraham and King David. He suffered and died on the cross in our places and the third day rose from the dead. What else do we confess about Jesus Christ? He ascended into the heavens and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty and from there He is to come to judge the living and the dead. This is the only remaining prophecy.
So, the question for many people is, Lord, when? Two thousand years have passed since the time of Jesus. When will He return? However, St. Peter says in our text that God does not think of time as we do. Our experience is time is a line of past, present and future. We have many tools to measure the passage of linear time: calendars, clocks, etc. But, God sees all the past, all the present and all the future. We can not fully understand it, but we can think of God seeing all time at the same instant.
God fulfills His plans in whatever time is necessary, no more or no less. That is why, Peter says, "One day before the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day." In Greek there are two words that can be translated as time. One, χρόνος, means time that can be measure. The other, καιρός, means the right time. For example, when a woman gives birth. When the baby is ready to leave his mother's womb, what does the calendar matter? Not at all. We can try to predict the date of delivery, but the date does not matter the date when the time comes. Also with the corn harvest. When the harvest is ready, the calendar does not matter.
It is the same with God's plans. All God's plans bear fruit at the appointed time. However, the church calendar is useful to focus our attention and prepare for the second coming of the Lord.
As our gospel implies (Matthew 25: 1-13), no one knows the hour or day of the Lord's return, but we must be prepared. Jesus Christ fulfilled all the promises of the Old Testament, overcame the power of the devil and death. But, He does not reign now among us in a visible form. He ascended into the heavens to rule the whole universe, but one day He will return in a visible form. Until that day, let us live in the days of the grace of God. As St. Peter says:
"The Lord does not delay his promise, as some men count slackness; But he is patient with us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. " In this life, we always have the opportunity to repent of our sins, and to receive God's forgiveness at baptism and the sacrament.
But when the Lord returns, it will be a day of judgment. The virgins who had no oil in their lamps when the bridegroom came were not prepared to form a parade to the wedding according to the custom of that time. Also, if we do not remain in the faith, we can avoid the opportunity to gain eternal life when Christ comes.
When Christ comes, it will be the end of the world. "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; In which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the burning elements will be destroyed, and the earth and the works that are therein will be burned. "
But this event should not be an occasion of fear for us, if we live as children of God, showing the love of God to others. We have the firm promises of the Lord in the struggle against our sinful nature. We are the saints of God by the blood of Christ. We are also sinners because the sinful nature, the tendency to rebel against God, is dying, but has not yet died. After physical death, we will be only saints, free from struggle, from all difficulties, thirst, hunger, pains, to live in the joy of the Lord. In that, we have the hope and peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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