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(Part 77)


December 6, 2013

Today’s readings:
Isaiah 29:17-24
Psalm 27:1,4,13-14
Matthew 9:27-31

The end times are upon us. This is not something to dread but to look forward to, as we will experience the fullness of our salvation, “in a very little while” (Is 29:17a). At that time, “Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard, and the orchard be considered a forest!” (Is 29:17b). Later Isaiah says that “the wilderness becomes a garden land and the garden land seems as common as forest.” (Is 32:15b). The wilderness that is the world today will give way to the garden that is Eden restored.

What will characterize that end time? There will be reversal and restoration, from wilderness to garden, from darkness to light, from death to eternal life. The deaf shall hear, the blind shall see, the lowly shall find joy (Is 29:18-19). “For the tyrant shall be no more” (Is 29:20a). Satan will be totally crushed and his tyranny over peoples can no longer continue (except for those who enter his dominion in hell). “All who are ready for evil shall be cut off” (Is 29:20c). Those who remain in sin and prefer to follow Satan rather than Christ will be condemned and cut off from eternal life. “No longer shall Jacob be ashamed, no longer shall his face grow pale.” (Is 29:22b). There will be no more tears, mourning or pain, there will no longer be the humiliation of a life lived beneath the dignity of being a child of God, and we can all hold our heads high because our salvation is complete.

Now that is something to really look forward to! Jesus is Savior! “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?” (Ps 27:1a). Oppressed by the enemy in the world, we will finally be free. The evil that has reigned in a darkened world will finally fall. “When evildoers come at me to devour my flesh, these my enemies and foes themselves stumble and fall.” (Ps 27:2).

Thus, while struggling in a fallen world, we keep our eyes on Jesus and the final victory that is to come when he returns. Enduring the hardships and oppression of life in the world, we look forward to the world to come. “One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: to dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life.” (Ps 27:4a). Then we will enter heaven and be with God forever, “to gaze on the Lord’s beauty, to visit his temple.” (Ps 27:4b).

This is why our work of evangelization is so important. For many people, especially those who are lapsed in their faith, hearing the gospel proclaimed, and being led to renewed faith in Jesus, is the key to making it to heaven. Those who meet Christ can start to live Christ now and experience a great life in him. “I believe I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.” (Ps 27:13). At the same time, we patiently await his final return in glory, as we persevere and courageously live our faith. “Wait for the Lord, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the Lord!” (Ps 27:14).

It is our faith in Jesus that works wonders, as in the case of the two blind men whose sight Jesus restored (Mt 9:29-30a). The “two blind men followed” Jesus (Mt 9:27) and “approached him” (Mt 9:28a). They met Jesus. They expressed their faith in him. “‘Do you believe that I can do this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ they said to him.” (Mt 9:28b). So Jesus worked the miracle.

Our task as evangelizers is to help bring people to Jesus, to help bring them to repentance and faith. When we evangelize others and they listen, “those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding, those who find fault shall receive instruction.” (Is 29:24). They will see, they will change, and their sorry situation will be reversed. We proclaim the gospel, they hear and believe, they call upon the name of Jesus, and they are saved. This is our all-important task. This is our great privilege. We must do our part to share Christ.

The two blind men were warned sternly by Jesus not to tell anyone about what had happened (Mt 9:30). “But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.” (Mt 9:31). Their gratitude and joy could not be contained. They could not keep themselves from sharing the good news of what Jesus had done for them. How about us? God has blessed us with so much. Do we proclaim that to all?

Jesus told the blind men not to tell anyone but they did. On the other hand, Jesus commands us, his disciples, to tell everyone but some of us do not. If that is the case with you, you remain blind.

Onward to the New Evangelization, as the end times are upon us.

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