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(Part 80)


December 23, 2013
Today’s reading: Malachi 3:1-4,23-24

“And the Lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple; the messenger of the covenant whom you desire--see, he is coming! says the Lord of hosts.” (v.1b).

Jesus is coming. Whether sooner or later, he is coming. When he does, it will be sudden, unexpected, the date unknown. So we must be prepared. Now God did not lack in sending messengers to prepare His people for His coming. God sent Elijah. God sent John the Baptist. God sends us. “Now I am sending my messenger--he will prepare the way before me” (v.1a).

What was one objective in sending Elijah? “Now I am sending to you Elijah the prophet; before the day of the Lord comes, the great and terrible day; he will turn the heart of fathers to their sons, and the heart of sons to their fathers” (v.23-24a). It was a restoration of family life, according to the very plan of God. Unfortunately today, even more than during those times, family is being savagely assaulted. There are many broken marriages, many sons growing up without their fathers, many fathers aborting their own sons. This is a terrible situation, very diabolical, incurring the great wrath of God. If things do not change, the return of the Lord will truly be terrible. “Lest I come and strike the land with utter destruction.” (v.24b).

God sent Elijah to work at the renewal of family life. God raised and sends CFC-FFL to work at the same. Our charism is evangelization founded on family renewal. These are the two most crucial tasks needed to be done before the Lord returns.

We see that we are right there at the forefront of the fight for families and for God’s people. The times are urgent. There is no time to lose. We must go about our work with greater passion and commitment. Every day, faith grows cold, and families continue to disintegrate. When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on earth? If not, “who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand firm when he appears?” (v.2a).

The return of the Lord will be a great and terrible day. “For he will be like a refiner’s fire, like fullers’ lye.” (v.2b). By that time it will be too late for those who persist in sin. The Lord will be burning away all the impurities from His people, and those burnt away will continue to burn in everlasting fire.

Before that great and terrible day, God’s people are given an opportunity to turn back to Him. To turn from sin to righteousness. To turn from filth to purity of heart. To turn from decadence to holiness. “He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the Levites, refining them like gold or silver, that they may bring offerings to the Lord in righteousness.” (v.3). We are to be purified of impurities, we are to be refined, we are to be bleached, so that we may come into the holy presence of God, holy and spotless.

What can cause this to happen? People need to meet Christ so they can start to live Christ. How will this happen? They need to be evangelized, to hear the good news of salvation in Jesus. They need to know the one who will come again, and so live for and in him. This is the all-important work of the New Evangelization. This is our work.

“Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord, as in ancient days, as in years gone by.” (v.4). Let us offer ourselves by living holy lives. Let us offer our families by working at renewal. Let us offer our community and our work by persisting in the work of evangelization and mission.

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