Reflections for Sunday, November 6, 2011

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

(Malachi 1:14–2:2,8-10; Psalm 131:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9,13; Matthew 23:1-12)

 The Second Coming of Christ Our Source of Hope and Encouragement

We who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:17). 

Apparently, some of the first-century Christians in Thessalonica were afraid that their loved ones who had already died would not share in the glorious coming of the Lord. So Paul, with thrilling imagery, reminded them that just as Jesus died and rose from the dead, so too would those who had died in him rise to life forever—“to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). He assured them that whether dead or alive at the Lord’s return, all the faithful are destined for eternal union with Christ.

Paul’s gripping language recalls the apocalyptic images that prophets like Isaiah (27:13) and Zechariah (9:14) used when they described the long hoped-for “day of the Lord.” Jesus’ own words paint a similar scene: “He will send out his angels with a trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other” (Matthew 24:31). 

Brothers and sisters, heaven awaits us! The thought of Jesus’ Second Coming should be a hope and encouragement to us as we look forward to what lies ahead. As St. Josemaría Escrivá wrote: “What will it be like when all the infinite beauty and greatness and happiness and Love of God are poured into the poor clay vessel that the human being is, to satisfy it eternally with the freshness of an ever-new joy?”

We don’t know when Jesus will return or how this wonderful event will take place. Apocalyptic imagery is symbolic, not literal. But we can be sure that it will be awe inspiring and exhilarating. What a glorious day it will be when every sin, every wound, and every sorrow is wiped away and everyone, both living and dead, enter into the presence of our God and King forever!

“How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God. (St. Cyprian)”

(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.)

 Questions for Reflection/Discussion

  1. The first reading says that wisdom is “found by those who seek her.” Where do you seek wisdom?  We know that Scriptures, the Word of God, contains the wisdom of God. How would you compare the amount of time you spend reading the newspaper and watching TV to the amount of time you spend reading Scripture.  What are some changes you can make in your schedule, even small ones, that would allow you additional time for Scripture reading, e.g., reflecting on the daily Mass readings.
  2. The responsorial psalm speaks of pining and thirsting for God?  Do you look forward to a daily time of prayer in the presence of the Lord? The responsorial psalm also speaks of glorifying, blessing, and praising the Lord. Are they part of your personal times of prayer? Why or why not? What practical steps can you take to be more aware of God’s presence when you pray?
  3. November is the traditional month for remembering all our departed family and friends. In the second reading, Paul consoles us by reminding us that all those who died with Christ will rise with him when he returns.  What are some ways you can bring this consolation to a family member, or a parishioner, or a co-worker who has suffered a recent bereavement? 
  4. In the Gospel parable, we are told to “stay awake” so we are always ready for the return of the bridegroom, which is Jesus.  If you knew Christ was to return this week, how would you live it differently? 
  5. In the meditation, we hear these words: “The thought of Jesus’ Second Coming should be a hope and encouragement to us as we look forward to what lies ahead.”  Is this true for you? Why or why not?

These reflection questions are provided courtesy of The Word Among Us.