RCL Year C Proper 28
Malachi 4:1-2a, Psalm 98, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13, Saint Luke 21:5-19

Our time is running out. We have today and next Sunday before Advent Sunday, the first Sunday in the new Christian Year. And every year at this time, the readings from the Scriptures turn apocalyptic. The end of the Church Year reminds us of the end of time.

Apocalyptic is a literary mode, like tragedy, or comedy, or satire. It can be the mode of many literary genres, like prophecy, or drama, or novels. It comes from a Greek word meaning revelationor unveiling. What is revealed or unveiled usually is the end of time.

You heard it in Malachi: “the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evil-doers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up.”[1]And you heard it in the Gospel, when the talk was of the temple, adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, when Jesus says: “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”[2]

Christians understand the end in a particular way. The end of time begins with the Second Coming of Christ. And that Second Coming means that Christ is the last word. It means that, come what may, we have a good future, and that future is Christ himself. You see, we speak and are involved in bigger things than who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Gospel on which the Church stands is the Good News that Christ has died for sinners, Christ is risen from the grave for sinners, and Christ, now reigning in glory, will come again to save sinners. Christ’s glorious return, his Apocalypse, is also a present, strengthening reality that comforts us sinners in the midst of our trials and struggles, and feeds us as we make our way as pilgrims through life working out our own salvation. For we are headed for Christ, each one of us. If we are his disciples, every day of our short and uncertain lives takes us a little more deeply into the mystery of Christ and brings us that much closer to completion and fulfillment.

As I said at the beginning, our time is running out. But as the grains of sand fall through the narrow place, let us keep in mind that we are headed for Christ and his own redeeming love. And in the meantime, sisters and brothers, we can, as the Epistle commands, “not be weary in doing what is right.”[3]For, as Jesus says in the Gospel, “by your endurance you will gain your souls.”[4]

[1]Malachi 4:1.

[2]Saint Luke 21:6.

[3]2 Thessalonians 3:13.

[4]Saint Luke 21:19.