Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the readings are about what is to come at the end of time, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ as King and Master of all, and ultimately as the Judge of all creations. Our Lord Jesus Christ is going to come in triumph and glory, vanquishing and defeating evil once and for all, and cast them all into the utter darkness and the eternal lake of fire prepared for them.
In the first reading, it was told about the final defeat of Satan, who will be cast down and have his power forever broken. The authority which Satan once has over us, through sin, has been broken through the actions of our Lord Jesus, by His death and resurrection, and then the might and kingdom of Satan itself will be crushed when the Lord comes again.
That is because, brothers and sisters in Christ, as long as mankind still commit sin and evil in their actions, in their words and deeds, they will always come again under the rule and tyranny of Satan, who is the lord over evil and sin. As long as we sin and commit things evil and abhorrent in the eyes of God, Satan is our master and we are his thralls.
And as long as we remain in sin, and allow sin to affect our hearts and our lives, then death will also have power over us. This is the first death, and also will be the second death for us, if we do not change our ways. What is the first death and the second death, brothers and sisters? The second death was mentioned in the first reading today taken from the Book of Revelations. It is an eternal death and an eternal suffering, from which, all those who suffer that second death, will never be able to escape.
All of us mankind were not meant to suffer death or suffering, brethren, for our ancestor Adam, the first man, and his wife, Eve, the first woman, were created to enjoy the eternal bliss and happiness of the Lord’s creations in Eden. They were meant to enjoy for eternity the goodness of God and not to suffer death and suffering in this world. Alas, sin entered the hearts of men by the disobedience of men, who listened to the sweet lies of Satan, who charmed and twisted them away from true devotion to God.
Satan appeared to Eve as a snake, the most cunning and intelligent of all the creatures, and it is the same old snake that the angel of God will chain up at the end of times, Satan the deceiver, to be bound up so that all of us may be freed from his tyranny and control. Satan played on our desires and our curiosity, and those took the better of us, when he managed to persuade the first men to eat from the forbidden tree and thus sinned against God.
After mankind sinned against God, then we deserve to be punished, and that punishment, is to suffer in our life, whereas the original intention had been for us to enjoy our life in bliss and happiness, and then also to die, suffering from death, just as the words say that, ‘from dust you have come, and to dust you shall return’. This is the first death, the death because of men’s disobedience against God, and all of us mankind are subject to this.
Yes, one day we will all die, and all those who have gone before us have also tasted death, and those who are yet to be born, will one day also suffer death, the first death, but not a final death. For our Lord Jesus Christ had come as our Saviour, who offered a new hope and light amidst the darkened outlook of our future. By His death on the cross, He broke free the chains of sin that enslaved us to death, and by His resurrection, He brought us the offer of a new life everlasting.
And thus, we have no need to fear death, the first death. After all, all of us will go through it at one point of time or another. We will all die, but what matters is, if after that first death, whether we will suffer the second death or instead go into the eternal life promised by our God. This will depend on our actions and deeds in this life on earth, and will be judged upon us at the time of the Last Judgment.
Yes, the second part of our first reading today tells us about the Last Judgment, where the Lord will separate those who have done good and those who have failed to do so, or those who did what are wicked in the sight of God. The good ones He will give His promised reward of everlasting life, in the fullness of glory and happiness which He had always intended for His beloved men from the very beginning, but taken away from us because of the sins of our ancestors and also our own sins.
How about those who are found to be wicked and unworthy then? They will be judged and condemned for their actions, and the second death will be their portion. The second death is eternal, hell-like suffering of total and eternal separation from God and His love, and no hope is to be found there, for there is no escape, and those who are found wicked will be cast down there together with Satan and his fellow fallen angels, who also rebelled against God and brought mankind down with them.
Ultimately, the Gospel today reminds us of the fact that we need to do something, and that we can no longer be passive in our faith and in our lives. Jesus was talking about the signs of nature and the seasons, and how if the people of His time could tell of the coming of the season and time by observing the nature around them, then the coming of the Lord Jesus and the end of time can surely also be known by us, not in exact timing, but in the imminency of it.
Jesus always told us that the coming of the kingdom of God will be like that of a thief, sudden and unannounced. And indeed, only God Himself knows the exact time of His coming. If we think that we still have time and remain idle, not doing things which may help us to secure our salvation, then we may be caught unaware and unprepared, and at that time, if we are judged to be among the wicked, then no amount of pleading or begging will help us anymore.
Therefore, what we need to do brothers and sisters in Christ? We have to be proactive in our faith, and practice it with full sincerity and genuinely show love, as what the Lord had taught us. We have many opportunities in this life, every single day, hour or even minute. Whenever we see that there are people being ostracised, treated badly against, hungry or lonely, are we courageous enough to show them our love? Or do we prefer to remain idle and ignore them?
The choice is clearly ours, to be loving and good, or to be selfish and wicked. The ball is in our court, and it is our choice whether to take up the opportunity and use them, or let them go to waste. May Almighty God awaken in us the courage as well as the sense of urgency to seek Him and do what He had taught us to do, so that at the end of the days, He may find us worthy and righteous, and worthy to enjoy the eternal graces and happiness which He had prepared for all of us. God bless us all. Amen.
First Reading :
Gospel Reading :