33rd Sunday in O. T.
I’m sure you are familiar with that advertisement which says: “Happy lang, walang ending”. Of course, you would think, that statement is nothing more than just a cliché. And you may be right! But I guess this statement also embodies one of our greatest longings: the longing for eternity, for a life of happiness without end.
Nothing is wrong with this longing for eternity. It is perfectly natural. It simply shows what we are made for. As St. Augustine puts it: “You have made us, O Lord, for Yourself; and our heart is restless until it rests in You”. In God, lahat happy lang, walang ending!
On this second to the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, our liturgy gives us a glimpse of the possibility of attaining eternal life without end. Endless happiness with God is possible. However, as our readings reveal to us today, eternal happiness requires, first of all, the end of everything that is temporal and worldly. Time has to end first, then, comes eternity.
In the First Reading, the prophet Daniel describes the time of the end. He said: “there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; … Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”
A similar scene we can find in the words of our Lord in the Gospel: “In those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken.” It is a very frightening sight to behold!
However, the Lord also added that people “will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.”
The end of time is inevitable. We know by experience that everything in this world has an end. Perhaps, this is the reason why many people today do not believe anymore in “forever”. Wala raw “forever” dahil lahat may “ending”.
The end of time has to occur in order for eternity, the “forever”, to take place. This is also a great lesson of life: if you want a new beginning, there has to be an end to the old ways of life. Oftentimes, the end is frightening. But the more horrifying is the end, the sweeter and more exciting is the new beginning!
Never fear the end of time. Instead, hope for eternity. When Jesus gives His disciples a glimpse of the end of the world, it was not to frighten them; it was rather to inspire them – and us today – to aspire for a world that does not end. Whenever we are reminded that everything in this world ends, it is to inspire us to look for things that endure.
Do not allow yourselves to be caught up by passing possessions, by fleeting pleasures and by treasures that corrode. Rather, aspire more for things that are heavenly, for enduring possessions, for incorruptible treasures. Now you know that the world will soon end, begin to long for heaven.
But Jesus also said: “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Perhaps, the reason why God did not reveal the exact date of the end of time is to keep us always excited and yearning for heaven. It does not matter when; what matters is that heaven awaits us. Hence, let us fix our attention to that truth.
The Second Reading tells us that, even though the end of the world will surely come, we must always fix our eyes on Jesus, Who is now “seated at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.” Hence, do not pay attention to that horrifying scene of “darkened sun and moon” and of “falling stars”. Rather, fix your gaze on “the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” Do not focus more on the fact that the world will surely end; rather, fix your eyes on the truth that Jesus will surely come!
Brothers and sisters, in a personal way, what our Lord is saying to each of us is this: whenever everything seems to end for you, never mind the ending, just focus your attention on Jesus. He is telling you and me: “when you see these things happening,” -- when life and your world seem to end – “recognize that He is near, right at your door.”
If Jesus is truly with you, dapat happy lang, walang ending!