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(Part 12)


December 1, 2019

Today’s readings:
Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122:1-9
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:37-44

To be built on Rock, we must be like Jesus. To be the Church’s living stones, we must be founded on and integrated with the cornerstone. We are to be holy as God is holy, and we are to avoid being stained with sin. We are to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” (Rom 13:14).

What does it mean to put on Jesus? Let me make an imperfect analogy to try to illustrate the meaning. During Halloween, kids put on all sorts of costumes. As they go around in a familiar neighborhood, people who know them do not address them as William or Olivia, but as Captain Marvel or Snow White. They are recognized as who they have made themselves to be, as evidenced by what they have put on.

In a similar way, we are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to be like him. We are to wear his mantle of holiness. We are to be recognized by people as embodying him. We are to be another Christ.

How does this happen? “Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom 13:12b). How do we do that? “Let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and licentiousness, not in rivalry and jealousy.” (Rom 13:13). We are not to engage in sexual immorality, as many people, including so-called Christians, do today. We are not to turn what is good into bad (wine is good but getting drunk is bad; power and authority are necessary to serve as leaders, but abuse of these is bad). And especially for leaders in Christian community, we are not to engage in rivalry and jealousy. We are leaders and thus servants, serving the one Master. We are on the same team and have only one enemy, the evil one. We are to help one another become holier and of greater service to God, even surpassing what we ourselves have become and done.

All the above is especially critical, as we are already in the end times. “And do this because you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Rom 13:11). MFC is over 38 years old. The return of Jesus is thus over 38 years nearer than when we first began. Of course we do not know when Jesus will return. All the more, we should be awake and vigilant, constantly striving for holiness and bringing many more to him. “Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” (Mt 24:42).

Unfortunately, very many people are just engaged in the world, unmindful of what is to come. They are “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (Mt 24:38b). They are out working in the field or grinding at the mill (Mt 24:40a,41a). But Jesus will return. On that day, it would already be too late for those who have not striven to put on Christ. “They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.” (Mt 24:39). “So, too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” (Mt 24:44).

So we must be build on the Rock that is Christ. That means living his holiness and doing his mission. Unfortunately, people today are looking not to Christ but to human capabilities and institutions. For example, we all want peace in our societies and in the world. But all we have is strife, disorder, disunity and war. People look to the United Nations, which has failed in bringing peace to the world. The world today has very many deadly conflicts, both across borders and within one’s borders. Outside the UN building in New York City, you will find this quote from Isaiah: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” (Is 2:4b). The exact opposite is happening. The arms race continues, nations continue to arm themselves more with deadlier weapons, nations have invaded other nations, and nations are training their armies for war.

Only Jesus, who is the Prince of Peace, can bring about peace in the world. Only God “shall judge between the nations and set terms for many peoples.” (Is 2:4a). Justice does not come through the International Court of Justice. And certainly peace cannot come from the bureaucrats at the UN. What are nations to do then? Simple. “House of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!” (Is 2:5). And in God, “there are the thrones of justice” (Ps 122:5a).

This is our task. We are to enable people to meet Christ so they can then live Christ. Then they themselves can share Christ. Our Church can then become an army of evangelizers. “Many peoples shall come and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the Lord’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.’” (Is 2:3a). We are to proclaim Christ to all the nations. We are to help disciple the nations, so that their God will not be the gods of this world but the one true God. This is our purpose for rapid, massive and worldwide evangelization. This is our vision, that “in the days to come, the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it.” (Is 2:2).

Our joy is to serve God. Our joy is to see people turning to God. “I rejoiced when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’” (Ps 122:1). Our joy is to help bring many more people to Jesus, to ground their lives on him, and to see them make it to heaven. “And now our feet are standing within your gates, Jerusalem.” (Is 122:2). We reach out to our relatives and friends and all others. We help them find inner peace and peace in their surroundings. We introduce them to the Prince of Peace. “For the sake of my brothers and friends I say, ‘Peace be with you.’” (Ps 122:8).

Be founded on the Rock that is Christ. Be holy and do mission. Find peace. Be ready for the Lord’s return. Make it to heaven.

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