Today’s readings give us the assurance that our God will be with us all the days of our lives and that we will have the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst guiding, protecting and strengthening us in spite of our necessary human uncertainty concerning the end time when “Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks about the displacement of celestial bodies at the end of the world, followed by the appearance of the Son of Man in glory to establish the Reign of God. Jesus gives a warning lesson from the fig tree. The application of this image to the end of the world suggests that the end of the world will mean good times, or summer, for Jesus’ disciples, because their God will be bringing things to a triumphant end, and His Truth, Love and Justice will prevail forever. But we must always be well prepared to face our judgment because we do not know the day nor the hour. True disciples are to watch and wait in a state of readiness. Instead of worrying about the end time events, we are asked to live every day of our lives in loving God in Himself and as living in others by our committed service. Thus, we will enter into a deeper relationship with God, which will continue when we pass through death into a different kind of life.
Let us recognize the “second coming” of Jesus in our daily lives. Today’s Gospel reminds us of a “coming” of God which we tend to forget, namely, God’s daily coming to us in the ordinary events of our lives. We must learn to recognize and welcome Him in these everyday occurrences – happy, encouraging, painful or disappointing – always remembering that He comes without warning. Let us remember that the Lord is present wherever people treat each other with gentleness, generosity, and thoughtfulness.
Let us take heart and not be frightened: The end of the world should never be thought of as depressing, disheartening or frightening because we are in the hands of a good and loving God. Christ’s second coming gives us the message that God is journeying with us in the trials and difficulties of life, and that His word is ever-present as a light of hope. He speaks to us through the Scripture. We have the Eucharist as a sign that God is with us, in our midst. Holy Communion is our point of direct, personal contact with God. That is why the holy Mass is special: the more fully and frequently we participate in the Mass, the more deeply the Lord can come to us, and the more completely He can remain with us. Let no one frighten us with disturbing descriptions of the end of the world because “the end” is all about the birth of everyone and everything into eternity.
Today is a pretty unique day in the history not only of our nation, but the whole world. Today is the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice that ended WWI, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
We honor this day, we pray for peace, pray for those who have died in service and for all those who come back and bearing wounds.
The central message of today’s readings is the most fundamental principle of all religions, especially Christianity. God Himself tells us that we are created to love God in loving others and to love others in loving God. In other words, we are to love God living in others.
The first reading reminds us to love God by keeping His commandments. It also describes the blessings reserved for those who obey the commandments. The second reading tells us how Jesus, the eternal and holy High Priest, offered Himself as a sacrifice on the cross to demonstrate God’s love for us. Today’s Gospel teaches us how we should return this love by loving others.
We are commanded (1) to love God, (2) to love our neighbor, and (3) to love ourselves. We are to love God, for it is in loving Him that we are brought to the perfection of His image in us. We are to love our neighbor and ourselves as well, because both of us bear God’s image, and to honor God’s image is to honor Him who made it. We are to love our neighbor and our self as a way to love God: God gives us our neighbors to love so that we may learn to love Him. It means sharing with others the unmerited love that God lavishes on us. This is the love for neighbor that God commands in His law.
Loving with all of one’s heart is a truly radical challenge, in imitation of Christ. But it is our Christian vocation. For we believe that life comes from death, that gain comes from loss, that receiving comes from giving, and that Jesus himself had to die to come to the fullness of life. We profess to be followers of one who made a complete offering of himself to the Father and spent his energies and his time in the service of others, who returned to his Father devoid of any earthly goods.
If I am going to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, then I have to place His will ahead of mine. This means that I may have to say no to some things that I might want to do. It also means that I am going to have to seek the Lord’s will and make it paramount in my life. Taken together, loving God means we open our hearts, give Him our will, develop our minds, direct our emotions, use our bodies and deploy our resources in ways that reveal our love for Him in active, loving service of everyone we encounter in our lives.
Since every human being is the child of God and the dwelling place of the Spirit of God, we are actually giving expression to our love of God by loving our neighbor as Jesus loves him and us. This means we have to help, support, encourage, forgive, and pray for everyone without discrimination based on color, race, gender, age wealth or social status. If I am going to love my neighbor as I love myself, it will cost me as well! I may have to seek forgiveness when I think I have done no wrong. I may have to sacrifice something I think I need to meet a brother’s need. I may have to give up time to help someone. I may have to spend time in prayer for people, go to them, and reach out to them in the name of the Lord. Love for our neighbor is a matter of deeds, not feelings.
Nicole Oyola, a 23-year old from Clearwater, told Fox 13 that she suddenly pulled to the side of the Howard-Franklin Bridge outside of Tampa on Thursday when she spotted a man on its edge. “I started talking to him. I told him, you’re worth it. You’re enough,” Oyola said. “I don’t know what you’re going through, but I love you and God loves you and everything is going to be okay.”
He looked at me, and after he looked at me he started crying and I said, “I just want to give you a hug”. So he came to the other side and I gave him a hug. “God has a purpose for everyone”, she added “I believe in that, so I stopped. I just wanted to help him feel better.
This is what Jesus is asking from you and me today. Love God and love our neighbor. Loving our neighbor doesn’t mean we have to give lot of money or our material possessions. But a kind word to the one who is depressed, sad, disappointed, distressed and feel confused will bring transformation in that person’s life. In this incident, the woman didn’t give any money to that man but she shared with him what God has given her the great gift of LOVE. When she said those words, there was a total change and transformation in that man’s life. His attitude was changed, there was change of decision and there was a change his outlook toward life. So let us also do the same to our needy brothers and sisters. Amen.
See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”
Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.