As we near the end of the Church’s liturgical year, today’s readings focus on the final days of the world, our own death and the final judgement.
The prophet Malachi in our first reading warns of the need to be prepared for the day of the second coming. He adds the reassurance that those who remain faithful in word and work will be rewarded.
The gospel warns that the date of the end of the world is uncertain. The disciples are worried by this revelation and they immediately seek more information from Jesus. They ask what warning signs they should look out for. He speaks of nations fighting against each other and that there will be great plagues and famines. Jesus warns against listening to those who predict the end of time, they should ignore them. That time is known to God alone.
Faithfulness is key for all followers and that may come with a price. Jesus puts forward some examples that the faithful may have to endure. That is true for all of us even today. We often must stand up for what we believe as Christians, in an increasingly hostile secular world, but God promises us the wisdom and the gift of speech to defend ourselves. Our perseverance will be rewarded in the end.
Our state of readiness depends on what sort of lifestyle each one of us leads. The challenge for us all is to live holy lives, with love, compassion and unconditional forgiveness as our guiding principle to be prepared for that time when God may call each one of us home.