Ave Maria
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Ave Maria

Faith or Fear?

Is Christ giving us a somber warning or a path of consolation?

Photo by Elvie Lins on Unsplash

The liturgical year is truly coming to an end, and we are brought to reflect on what may be a general theme of the Sunday’s readings: the coming of the end times.

The Sunday’s readings kick off with that from the book of Daniel, who was given a glimpse of what will come to pass. The great prince Michael will rise to be a guardian of the people. Daniel was made to see of the kind of tribulation that the people and the nations will face, of what the times will be like. He is also given a glimpse of the only paths available, that of eternal glory with God, or that of damnation, completely away from Him for all eternity.

But what Daniel is made to see is not all doom and gloom, but a reminder. It was more a reminder of what God longs for His people, to share in His Kingdom, His glory. As the Responsorial Psalm rightfully says,

You are my inheritance, O Lord!

God longs for us to be one with Him, to be united with Him in unending glory. Rightfully so, the Psalm echoes who should be our inheritance after our earthly journey, and that is no other than God Himself. God even exhausted all means to make it possible for us, through the very offering of His own Son, Jesus, who sacrificed himself on the cross for all our sins and iniquities, bearing them for our sake and for our redemption.

It is for this reason that Christ, in the Gospel reading, calls on us to always be prepared for an accounting of our lives before God. His words may seem like a somber warning, pointing to signs of the end times. But more than that, it should be seen in the light of placing all our trust and confidence in him, preparing ourselves to welcome Him when He comes again in glory.

Christ teaches us through the fig tree, of how the changes that it undergoes gives us clues as to the change in season. It is the same with Christ, who provides us the signs that we may remember to be prepared, to always be prepared, for when He comes, it will be for either salvation for those who chose to follow and suffer for Him, or damnation for those who chose to turn away.

But we must understand, that the very reason we ought to aim for heaven is not because we want to experience heaven itself, but because of our Lord, and that we want to be fully united to Him. This should be our main driver, motivation, and direction. It is Christ himself that we aim for, and we can only do so through love, for that is who God is, love Himself.

In some convents or monasteries of religious congregations, one might find the words “Memento mori”, meaning “Remember, you will die”, placed along their hallways. This is not so much about being morbid, but rather, a constant reminder of the limits of our earthly journey, that it has both a start and an end. And because our humanity, we may often wonder what it would be like when we reach the end of our earthly journey, what the end of our lives would be like. It’s perfectly normal. We probably wonder what lies after this life, or is there really such a thing as the next life, whether it be heaven, hell, or moments in purgatory.

It is in those moments of introspection that we ought to go back to Our Lord, who reminds us:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” — John 14:1–3

We may not know when Christ will come again, whether it will be in our time or in the next, but that is perfectly fine. What is important is we hold on to the hope that we may be one with Him in glory.

So, do we stand in faith, or do we cower in fear?

Ave Maria!



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