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THE URGENCY OF PREPARING OURSELVES NOW
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Friday, 32nd Week of the Year, November 14, 2014
2 John 4-9, Ps. 118, Luke 17:26-37


Scripture quotations are from the RSV unless otherwise noted.

 

"As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man. They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all" (Luke 17:26-27).


The second coming of Christ will be like the flood that destroyed the whole sinful generation of Noah. It came suddenly, without warning, and destroyed them all. They should have repented earlier. But once the flood came, it was too late to repent. So will it be when the Son of man suddenly appears in the sky on the clouds of heaven with all his saints in great light. Then there will be no further opportunity to repent. Now, not then, is the time to repent, change our ways, and prepare ourselves. Hence all the warnings of the New Testament to be prepared, for no one knows the day of his coming. A Christian should therefore always live in constant daily preparation and self-purification. "As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man" (Luke 17:26). Now we can repent, be forgiven, and change our ways. Then, we will not be able to. He will come suddenly, when no one expects it, and will catch many off guard, in sin and depressed with guilt.


Christ came the first time to save and renew us. He introduced the new age of salvation. He died in reparation for our sins and rose so that we might have a new life in him, justified through our faith in him (Rom. 4:25) so that we might be a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17) and new men (Eph. 4:22-24). If we live a pure life in body and spirit as a new creature, we will be prepared and ready for Christ's second coming in glory to judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42).


But "many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved" (Matt. 24:11-13 NKJV). We do not want to grow cold and be surprised and destroyed by the second coming of Christ. Therefore we must keep watch over ourselves at all times and protect ourselves from the attacks of the devil and his temptations that, if we yield to them, even in thought, will stain our spirit and depress us with guilt. To avoid this and be prepared and blameless at the coming of Jesus Christ with all his saints in great light we must purify ourselves more every day from the occasions of sin, even of sins of thought, avoiding what leads us astray in our thoughts and passions.


If you do this, "as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ" he "will sustain you to the end guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ' (1 Cor. 1:7-8). This is your goal, that our Lord "may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints" (1 Thess. 3:13). Therefore "may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 5:23). To make sure that this will indeed happen, we have to purify ourselves now by reforming our behavior, for "everyone who has this hope in Him, purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:3 NKJV). We do this by reforming our whole way of living, changing our ways.


This is how we must now be, because when Christ comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead, there will be no more opportunity to repent, change our ways, and prepare ourselves. "On that day, let him who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away; and likewise let him who is in the field not turn back" (Luke 17:31). There will be neither time nor need to turn back to get our things, because the judgment of the world and the transformation of all things will then be at hand. The time to repent, prepare ourselves, and reform our ways is now, not then.

 

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