TToday’s readings give us the assurance that our God will be with us all the days of our lives and that we will have the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst, guiding, protecting and strengthening us in spite of our necessary uncertainty concerning the end time when “Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” Each year at this time, the Church asks us to consider the “last things” – Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell – as happening to ourselves.
The readings invite us to focus our attention on the threefold coming of Jesus: 1) His first coming according to the flesh, as Redeemer. 2) His second coming, either at our death, or at the end of time and the world, which will bring our salvation to completion. 3) His coming into our lives each time we step forward in genuine Christian living. The first reading, taken from from the prophet Daniel (167 BC), was originally given to comfort and give hope to the Jewish people persecuted by a cruel pagan king. It advises us to live wisely and justly in the present time, instead of worrying about the unknown future.
Deut 12: 1-3 / Heb 10: 11-14, 18 / Mk 13: 24-32
We have a saying that "all good things must come to an end." As we prepare for Advent, we must note that our church year has come to an end. The apocalyptic nature of today's readings should cause us to reflect on this ending. Mark's Gospel tells us we will "see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds' with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky." I think most of us agree that we want to be part of this "elect" that Mark mentions. How do we ensure that we are marked for that day? We begin with baptism, which is a public declaration of our acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and as our redeemer. But we have to remember the words of the apostle Paul: Faith without works is dead. In baptism we are called into a life of discipleship. We are called to live out our faith in every word and deed of every day. Next week we celebrate commitment Sunday, when you will have an opportunity to recommit yourself as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Take a quiet moment this week to reflect on the end of this liturgical year and the beginning of a new one. How will you allow yourself to become fully alive in discipleship in the coming year?.
Indeed, all parishes within the Diocese of Honolulu are restoring the Original Order of the Sacraments of Initiation between 2018-2020.
In the early Church, the person was immersed into the waters of Baptism, anointed with chrism, and shared in the Eucharistic meal as part of a single event. Over time, and for many reasons, the celebration of these three sacraments became separated from one another. In the renewal stemming from the Second Vatican Council, the Church was asked to more clearly set forth the intimate connection of Confirmation with the whole of Christian initiation. This original order also helps us recognize that sharing in the Eucharist completes our initiation into the Church and that it is Eucharist which is the “source and summit of our faith.”
Go to www.catholichawaii.org for more information on this