We find ourselves in the middle of November, and the Church year is slowly coming to a close. Next week, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King—the final Sunday of the Church year and as we stare down the end of the year, the Church in Her wisdom helps us to look at the end of our lives as well.
In today’s reading, we hear about the end of the world, when Archangel Michael will arise and Jesus, the Son of Man, will “come on the clouds with great power and glory” along with his angels which we heard in the Gospel. Our first reading told us, “those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake: some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting horror and disgrace.” When will this occur? Well, the Gospel says, “No one knows, either the angels in heaven, nor the Son but only the Father.”
How do these readings relate to us in the here and now? Christ reminds us: “Heaven and Earth will pass away!” Have you thought about what that means? Everything we know and love and hold onto will pass away! Our Church, your families, you, yourself—it’s all going to pass away. The only thing that will not pass away, says Jesus, he says, “My words will not pass away.”
And so what this means for you and me, if we stay focused on Christ, if we stay focused on Jesus, then we, too, shall never pass away. These type of readings help us focus on what is most important in our lives and help prepare us spiritually for a new year.
End-of-Time readings hold our attention today. Their aim is to invite us to reexamine our lives. They prompt us to live in the present: the sacred here and now. So I ask you: “What has your attention?” “What are you most focused on?” The things that will pass away, or, Christ who will not pass away?
The reality is, so many people focus on the things of the world, and the problem is, is that we often do so without keeping our eye on Christ. The things of the earth, the gifts from God is many ways becomes distractions and we essentially loose sight on the Giver of all of those good gifts.
So who or what do we focus on? Is it ourselves, making money, taking care of ourselves by building up our own kingdoms. Often times, we put all our time and energy into thing that are passing, and yet eternal life, the thing that never passes, we merely throw it a bone once in a while, you know, we often think of God has a Teddy bear, loving him yes, but not investing much of ourselves into a relationship with Him.
When I was constructing this homily, I was thinking of all of the hard things we do in our lives. The time and energy we put into our studies for education. (Time, energy and money for our careers.) I thought about Bishop Carroll football, I thought about the Kansas City Royals. Do you know how much work is involved in winning a state championship, or to win a World Series. A lot of work goes into that. Hours spent in the weight room, hours on the field, watching films, sprints, reviewing plays, etc: the sweat, the tears, the blood! And look, we do those things for things that are passing!
We spend hours of our time, lots of energy, and money on things that are passing.
How much time do we spend on those things that are eternal?
Is winning a State Championship or World Series, as difficult as that is, as easy as getting to heaven? And if heaven is something that we are interested in attaining with the Grace of God one day, how are we investing our resources to prove that we are working toward eternal life?
If that amount of time and energy and money is put into winning a State Championship or World Series, how much more for our eternal salvation?
Christ tells us, “Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away!” The reality is, God gave us a great multitude of gifts that we are called use in service of Him and our neighbor and Church. We must now take these gifts we have been given and do our best with them, staying focused on Jesus everyday of our lives:
How we will serve one another this next year through the use of our time, talent, and treasure? How will you prove to God that He is a priority? How seriously will you and I take our discipleship in this next year?
As our gaze is fixed upon Jesus Christ, our Trust in him will increase.
Being grateful for the many gifts that our Father has given us, may we recognize, receive, and share the gifts we have been given in a more radical way as this new Church year begins.