The last and best chapter in the life history of the People of God
November marks the closure in nature of many forms of life. The great sleep is undertaken as many creatures hibernate and wait for the new chapter of life at Springtime. So in this season the Church invites us to reflect upon the certainty of our own death and the final end of history marked by the final coming of Christ. In the face of these two certainties, our first reaction is often one of fear, fear of our own death and fear of the horrors that may come in the end times. Our Gospel today offers us much reassurance and seeks to allay our fears. For Jesus his last chapter in life, his crucifixion and death begins the new chapter of his glorious Resurrection and ascension. So he teaches us that death is not our final end but the doorway to eternal life. This life is a preparation through pain, struggle and labour, our own death marks the new chapter of our life free from sickness and pain, free from all violence and conflict, it marks the new freedom of ecstasy in God's eternal love. If we could see this now we would not want a single second more in this earthly life but long to enter into God's Paradise. Jesus also assures us that he will come again as certain as he came in the first Christmas story. As John the Baptist heralded his first coming so today the Church announces this Second coming is near. Just as we know the signs of the times in nature, so we should know the present tribulations throughout the world announce this coming. In the Gospel Jesus gives us the dramatic cosmic warnings of the sun and moon in distress and stars falling from heaven as evidence that his coming is near. Yet Jesus does not send horror shocks into our life rather the opposite for he tells us that no human being knows the day or hour of this coming and those who are disciples will not want for anything. His security will guard, protect and deliver us. We are to put our trust in him and wait with expectant faith.
In November it's good to face our own final chapter by seeking to take time to put our life right with God. Practically, making our will, making sure those around us know we love them, and making sure we are at peace with everyone, especially those we may have offended. Also in the face of many apocalyptic predictions we should not panic, or become negative and despairing of our world. We should see the forthcoming Second Coming of Christ as the new chapter of creation's yearning for freedom, as the reign of peace among all nations and the establishment of the brotherhood and sisterhood of every person. I have often found the great prayer of the early Church to be a good prayer for today," Maranatha, come Lord Jesus, come."
Let's take a little time to be at peace with our future, our final days on earth and the later days in the history of civilisation as we know it today.