November 22, 2011 - Memorial of Saint Cecilia, virgin and martyr

Today's Readings

Today we have two prophecies about the future, at least the future from the perspective of when they were spoken. Daniel’s prophecy was about his future, our past, came true exactly. After Babylon came Persia, then Alexander the Great, then Rome. Each empire is exactly as described. Then, in the time of the fourth empire, Rome, God carved a stone from the mountain and cast down the idol of the world. That stone was Jesus Christ, who founded a new kingdom that will never end. Indeed it grows until it fills the whole world.

We can see from AD 2011 that Daniel’s prophecy about the future was fulfilled. Jesus’ prophecy is also not exactly in our future. We are rather in the midst of it. The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. There have been wars and earthquakes and famines and epidemics. People have gone around saying that they are the Messiah or that the time for Jesus’ return has come. These things have happened, and they will happen. Jesus tells us that such things must happen.

A skeptic could say that Jesus was not making such a profound prophecy to say that there would be wars and disease, etc. “There always have been, and there always will be”, they might say, but we Christians do not believe that. We believe that there was a time when there were no such things. We also believe that there will be a time when such things no longer happen. When that time arrives, it will never end.

When that time come, Jesus will return. He will not come secretly. There will be no doubt when he has arrived. And he will not come according to the schedule of any self-appointed prophet, no matter how many times they change the date. He will come in power and majesty, riding on the clouds. We will go up to meet him in the sky. Until that happens, believe nothing.

Do not put faith in any such rumors, but place your hope in the sure prophecies given to us in Scripture. Do not believe that Jesus will come next Thursday because some crackpot says he will, but know that he might. He might come tonight. He will come when the Father sends him. Above all, do not be afraid, for when he comes it will be the end of the world as we know it: the end of wars, the end of disease, the end of starvation. The end of the world is nothing to be afraid of, it is our dearest hope.