The year is drawing to a close and at this time we listen to Apocalyptic readings. Each year we listen to Scriptures that we often interpret as the end times, or the end of days. We see the effects of climate change as storms get bigger and more frequent, to the floods and droughts that are impacting our planet and the lives of humans and creation . As we see the tragic reality of wars and threats of violence we wonder, doesn’t this have to be the end of days?
The true meaning of Apocalypse or Apocryphal is the “unveiling or revealing” that Christ brings to His church and to the world. Although the early church did experience great catastrophes such as the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem that Jesus foretold, the church ultimately reveals through Christ the truth of the resurrection and the power of Christ’s enduring presence that strengthens and empowers us to be a living testimony to Christ. It’s testimony time church!
We are not given this word to be in fear and fright of God’s unveiling of the truth in Jesus Christ. Through the power of our resurrected Lord, we are able to give testimony to the truth of Jesus’ action in our lives and in our world. Jesus who comes to rule the earth with justice, as the psalmist writes in Psalms 98:9.
“Before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to rule the earth,
he will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.”
Christ reign is amongst us we must give testimony to His kingdom in our midst. The Gospel of Luke we have Jesus speaking of the destruction of the temple and what appears to be a catastrophic image of things to come. We may take this lightly as we read these words, however, for ancient Israel this was shocking and a disturbing message. The glory of the temple was not only the pride and joy of the people, but it was central to their life and identity as God’s chosen people. The temple was the place where God dwelled. This great temple where sacrifice was offered, pilgrims came from a far all sought to climb the Lord’s mountain of Zion. Listen to the Prophet Michah.
“In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
as the highest of the mountains, it will be exalted above the hills,
and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.”
The words of Jesus reflect the experience of the early first century church. A community that is being oppressed and persecuted. This disturbing message reminding His disciples that following Him will be cause for division and mistreatment by those who oppose Him, even families will be divided. However, Jesus remains present to His disciples and to the Church. He encourages them to persevere “not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
It is testimony time, namely for those who are followers of Jesus Christ to dedicate their lives to be a living testimony to Christ. The Gospel of Matthew gives us a clear picture of what it means to testify and be a living testimony for the truth that is in Jesus Christ and our cal to live for Him in service of our sisters and brothers. Let’s look at the Gospel of Matthew, 25;
” Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.”
Seeking to live for justice and dignity is an opportunity to give testimony with our lives to Christ as we encounter Him in those who are suffering. The hunger for food, justice and equality requires a response by each of us to stand with and seek to end the unjust systems that keep people in such an oppressive state. When we strive to reach out and impact the lives of women and men who thirst for genuine respect and dignity is an opportunity to see Christ and to serve Him. The true justice seeker welcomes the stranger and immigrant, the homeless and naked and embracing and seeking healing for those who are sick and ill or imprisoned. Here we meet Christ face to face, and it is ultimately Him that we serve in our brothers and sisters on the peripheries.
We do not hide in fear and trembling, but rather the crisis and challenges of this time impel us, and Christ empowers us, to act now in protecting the vulnerable, actively stepping up to work toward a change in our society and world that places the needs and good of the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized as our priority. The message of Christ unveils for us God’s message of love and value for all of His creation. Humanity and the created world are ultimately moving in the direction and culmination in Christ. The end of the liturgical year is an opportunity recommit ourselves to living as Dynamic Disciples and being a living Testimony for Christ. Let’s stand up and show up in the lives of the suffering for Christ and see His face in each and everyone!