Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17; Ps 23:1-6 1; Corinthians 15:20-26, 28; Matthew 25: 31-46
From the time of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, 4/1724 – 2/1804, and the French Revolution, 1789 – 1799, the world has slowly moved away from its ideas and dependence on God with his plan for us. Humans are in control with all our sciences and knowledge. For many there are no more absolutes. The new philosophy is relativism where each person is his or her own god. Whatever they want that makes them happy. It doesn’t make any difference what happens to other people. They want money and power no matter what it takes to get it. These attitudes make any religion passé. This simply is what much of the world wants.
These last few weeks of our Liturgical (church) year remind us of four last things: death, judgment, heaven or hell. Most people don’t want to think about their end. We shall all face it when our soul is called out of our body. So we look at the "end time" sections of the Book of Revelations. Most Protestants venture predictions about the coming disasters and try to give a date.
Dr. Scott Hahn and other Catholic interpreters of events in that book are really describing what happened with the great Jewish War from about 63 to 70 when the Roman emperors sent in generals to finally put down the "Jewish revolt." So Revelations was given to St. John on the Island of Patmos before the destruction of Jerusalem. Nearly all the Jews living in Alexandria, Egypt and Jerusalem were killed. The Christians saw the signs and God moved them out of Jerusalem to Mt. Pella. Judaism has never been the same since. That destruction was really the end of Judaism, as they knew it. We have been waiting nearly 2,000 years for the return of Jesus and the final judgment.
Why does our Liturgy end with this Feast? It is to end the year with a positive note. Pope Pius XI instituted this feast for the last Sunday of October. It was to show Christ’s dominion over all people and to bring peace to the world. After Vatican Council II, it was moved to this last Sunday before Advent.
God the Son was sent by our Father in heaven, to show us in person how much God loves us and wants to have a personal relationship with all of us. Yet because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve we all inherit their sin and its effect in a fallen human nature. Jesus came to love us, forgive all of our sins and bring us into his kingdom of love, joy, peace and justice here on earth and forever in heaven if we follow him. Let us keep running the race so as to attain our eternal reward.
The Good Shepherd Psalm today is a beautiful example of Christ’s care for us. When you put that psalm next to the Our Father prayer, that Jesus taught us, we are really amazed. God has awesome plans for us. I wish I had space to put them in parallel columns for study. If we allow our Father and Jesus to lead us through the guidance of Their Holy Spirit, we will be among the good sheep in Matthew’s gospel scene today about the Last Judgment at the end of time on earth.
Let us all rush to follow Jesus and be his light in the world bringing goodness, peace and justice to others so we can be with him forever in heaven.
Have a Blessed, Happy and safe Thanksgiving. I shall be praying for you, your family and safe traveling.
Peace and all good!
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2014 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)