Sem. Ian Granada
When I was a child, a photocopy of the alleged secrets of Fatima was circulating in the Catholic neighborhood. In that text, we can read the various images that depict in detail the end of the world. I can still remember how frightening the end of the world will be. It depicts a a seemingly punishing God who have forsaken creation.
They call it the three days of darkness.
It was so sensational that in our home, my mother used to have this ready kit in case the three days of darkness will come. We have bottled waters enough for three days, blessed candles we call ‘kandelaria’ are always set and again those should last for three days. A black plastic bag that was supposed to cover windows, doors, or any opening of the house is also handy. You cannot gaze or even peep outside, as this will cause death.
After some months of waiting, we began to use the bottled waters especially when a water shortage happened in the neighborhood. We used the candles for days when electricity was out due to typhoons. Yes, even the plastic bags were used to collect our garbage.
This was just an example how paranoid sometimes people become when it comes to the end of the world. We are always on our toes when we hear the end times. It causes fear, confusion, and panic. We want to be saved but we know that we will be punished. Our preparation was external.
The liturgical year is about to finish. Heeding the call of the Church to be watchful and ready for the Second Coming of Christ, she teaches us to be wise like the five wise virgins who are waiting for the groom to arrive.
In the readings, it is beautiful to see how St. Paul describes the eventual second coming of Christ. It describes the ultimate triumph of the Son of God over death and sin. The angel calls all the dead people, who hoped and lived a life of love and mercy, to share the triumphant start of the reign of God. All of us who will be alive on that day will be drawn to the clouds together with these multitude of witnesses welcome Christ the King!
Indeed, such vision gives consolation and hope for all of us who yearn to be with God, our origin and end, come to fulfillment in our lifetime. Such a state will come with a price; the price of living out Jesus in our lives; how we become Jesus in ourselves, others, and in the world we live in.
One insight, which I believe this Sunday imparts to us, is the wisdom that is Jesus. The only Word of God, who became one of us except sin, made it possible for humanity to participate in the communion of the Holy Trinity; that is of Love. We receive this Wisdom in our Baptism. Through Confirmation, we re-affirmed our Baptism and said again Yes to Christ. Strengthened by the Eucharist, we are to become what we received as St. Augustine reminds us.
A second insight brings us to the relevance of the Second Coming of Christ and our liturgies. Imagine the Second Coming of Christ as the Holy Eucharist itself! The eternal High Priest, our Lord Jesus Christ as the presider, all the angels, saints, holy men and women, popes, martyrs, our beloved dead and ourselves side by side as the attendees of the Divine Banquet. Such sight gives me goose bumps on how lofty and majestic the sight. No word, emotion, or feeling can capture it except perfect joy or even beyond it.
The liturgy we perform now is but a mirror or better, a dress rehearsal on that day when we will participate in that Divine Eucharist. Our participation in every liturgy, especially the Holy Eucharist expects a certain participation that we should do now. The Holy Eucharist feeds us with the Bread of Life, which in turn feeds our brothers and sisters with our good works and deeds. Not because we will merit a reward for doing good, but because it is a thanksgiving for the gift of Faith we received in recognizing Jesus as the Son of God.
Third, our father, St. John Eudes teaches us to look always and form Jesus in our lives. As we await the Second Coming, our lives will not be a passive onlooker but an active gazing everyday in our hearts, because Jesus is always coming to us in the heart of our hearts. It is there that he is being formed and reigns, hence our lives will always be ready to welcome Him anytime, anywhere because our dispositions and will are one with our Savior and Lord, because where the master is, there his servant will be.
When the second coming of Christ comes, our restless hearts that long to see the fullness of life will be of joyful and blissful contemplation of that love that we have held in Faith. It will be put to fulfillment and full revelation when Christ comes again. The end of times is not a gloomy and doomsday event unless we have acted foolishly that we have not seen Christ coming everyday in our lifetime. May the Blessed Mother always lead us to Jesus, who is the Star of the Morning!