Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we come to celebrate the last Sunday after Pentecost, the final Sunday before the season of Advent, we are always reminded of the fact that time is ticking and opportunity for us is running out, in order to secure our inheritance and salvation in God. The readings for this Sunday always focuses on the coming future, on the fact of the future coming of Jesus our Lord when He comes again to judge all the living and the dead.
As we always recite at the Creed, we believe that our Lord Jesus who have died and risen from the dead, and then ascended into His glory in heaven, He will come down in glory at the end of time, to judge the living and the dead. This is the final judgment, or the Last Judgment, when all the people will be divided and separated based on what they have done or what they have not done.
We fully believe in this, and we keep our faith in this. Yes, it is the hope for the coming of Christ, when He will again dwell among us and bring all those who are faithful to Him, to be united with Him in perfect love, harmony and glory. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, we have been made righteous before God, and if we all are truly faithful to Him, we shall be richly rewarded.
However, it is highlighted in the readings of this day, that we have to pray and pray often, that God will strengthen us and our spiritual defenses, so that we will not fall prey to the attacks and the lies of the devil. There will be a lot of challenges and false leads that will threaten to derail us away from the true path towards salvation, and we have to be careful in choosing our steps.
As mentioned, there will be false prophets and those who claimed to be the Christ, in order to mislead us and to fulfill their own selfish desires, and indeed these serve not God but themselves and Satan. There had been many cases both in the past and present, of those claiming to be the Lord who comes again into the world, declaring the coming of the end times, in their doom-filled messages.
Many of these tried to drive fear into the hearts of men, by claiming that God’s coming is around, and claimed to be the messengers of divine will. Unfortunately, many of the people of God were weak in their faith and they failed to understand the truth which the Gospel today highlighted. The coming of the Son of Man, that is the Great Judge, our Lord Jesus Christ, will be sudden and unexpected, fast and rapid like that of a lightning.
Yes, His coming into this world will come unannounced and even though there will be clear signs that He is to come again, as mentioned in the Gospel, no human being or worldly authority may ever claim to know the wisdom and knowledge of God with relation to the second coming of Christ. That is because Jesus Himself mentioned in another part of the Gospel, that only the Father knows the Son and therefore, vice versa, only the Son knows the Father.
This means that, whatever God has planned, He has planned everything thoroughly and meticulously, including our salvation from the hands of evil and death. Only He knows the fullness of truth of His plans for us. And Jesus also said that, the Son reveals to those whom He wants to reveal to. Who do you think that Jesus reveals part of His truth to? It is to the Church of God, through the Apostles, those beloved servants of Christ who were with Him and knew what He had done.
It is why a very important aspect of our faith is that we have to adhere closely to the teachings of the Church and reject all forms of temptations and falsehoods of the world, as the Church has that deposit of the Faith, which it had carefully guarded through the years and generations, that through the Church, God will have a strong anchor in this world, around which His faithful may cling to and remain faithful.
And finally, the Gospel today highlights what is required from us. Jesus was very clear, when He spoke of what will happen at the end of time. Those who had done what is good to those who are weak, downtrodden, abandoned, ostracised and disadvantaged against will receive rich rewards, for when they do so, they showed their love for their fellow men, just as what the Lord had asked us all to do.
Those who did not do so, and preferred to let the poor and the weak to suffer, while they enjoyed themselves, will be punished, and the Lord is sternly clear, that our action upon our brethren in need makes the difference between whether we will be judged among the sheep, the righteous ones, or to be judged among the goats, the wicked and unfaithful ones.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we end this liturgical year and approach the beginning of Advent, let us all reconsider how we all live out our lives. If we have done what the Lord had asked us to do, then well done, and we ought to continue living justly and righteously, not letting carelessness or our human frailties to cause us to be diverted from the path towards salvation.
Then, if we can still consider ourselves to be counted among those on the left, among the wicked, then while we still have the time, let us all take action. Our faith cannot just be mere words or observations alone. Remember that faith without action is dead, and a dead faith is meaningless and useless for us. The Lord who sees our dead faith will chide and rebuke us for our lack of action and judge us to be among the damned, if this is the case.
Remember, the Lord will come again at a time unknown to us, and He will come like a thief, unannounced and sudden. This is a reminder for us not to delay or postpone in changing our lives and our actions, if we have not done so. Otherwise, when He suddenly appears again in His glory, at a time unknown to us, we shall be caught unprepared and be judged to be among damned.
Hence, let us all be proactive in our faith, helping one another as we make our journey towards the Lord. Let our actions speak loudly of our faith, showing our Lord, Master and Judge, that we have all been faithful and devoted, and are worthy of His kingdom and promised inheritance. May Almighty God, our Lord Jesus Christ, bring us back to Him, our Good Shepherd, that we may forever enjoy the fullness of His love and care in the bliss of eternal heaven. God bless us all. Amen.