Tuesday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 426

We ask you, brothers and sisters, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling with him, not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed either by a “spirit,” or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from us to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.

Although we sometimes describe the Day of the Lord as dies irae, dies illa (“a day of wrath, a day of doom”), for the people of God it will be a day of vindication. On That Day the Lord will set things right. He will reward his faithful people within sight of all those who sneered at them.

The challenge for Christians is believing it will come despite our not knowing when. Impatient as we are -- an impatience sometimes intensified by actual persecution -- we’d like to know when. The scriptures often indicate it will be soon with expressions like “a time, times and half a time;” and yet it doesn’t happen.
I suspect that Saint Paul’s warning is more about those who are curious than those who are anxious. Some people are “shaken out of their minds” by spirits and oral statements and phony missives from him. Why do they need to get so upset?

They might not be suffering injustice; they might be frankly comfortable with the way things are going. Perhaps they're saying, "Let's do this now while I'm on top!" 

The worst are those biblical cryptologists who think that God has, for no particular reason, coded the end time into certain obscure passages of the Bible. “Otherwise,” they say, “why would writings that are two thousand years old, written in far distant lands by long dead people, with philosophical premises completely alien to our own and cultural nuances we cannot imagine, that have been copied and recopied hundreds of times -- be so hard to understand?”
Or perhaps they're just curious, an honest human emotion. Some people just want to know when the second coming is going to happen. 

If we needed to know when the last day is coming we would be told. The scriptures only tell us, “This is the final hour!” In that same passage from 1 John,  we are reassured, “you have the anointing that comes from the holy one, and you all have knowledge.” 

You already know what you need to know for salvation. As Jesus said to Thomas, "Have I been with you so long and you still ask, 'Show me the Father? Who has seen me has seen the Father!" 
Can I hope in God's promise while in this darkness of waiting? Can I continue to live honestly, accepting what I need and no more; giving what I can afford and then some – without knowing when this contest will end?

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.