When a train passes a place where cross traffic intersects with the rails, it sounds its horn
When a driver fails to secure the seat belt, a beeping noise sounds.
As an emergency vehicle approaches, we are alerted by the sound of its siren.
As we approach an intersection while driving a car, an amber light tells us that we might soon have to stop.
This week in Chicago’s Loop, managers of tall buildings placed signs for pedestrians to be aware of falling ice.
Each of these instances and many others are warnings. The warning is signaling that we need to be alert and ready. These are the exact same thing that we hear in the Gospel today; however, the motivation behind the warnings are different. In the instances that I cited above, the warning is about imminent danger. Jesus’ warning is motivated by his love for us. As we hear in a passage from the Gospel of John, Jesus does not any one of us to become lost. So he warns us to be vigilant and strong.
The final installment of our readings from the Book of Revelation tells us that what we have been reading for the past two weeks is trustworthy and true. In the second to last “beatitude” of this last book of the Scriptures, we are told: “Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic message of this book.” In other words, blessed are we if we carry the Word of God with us throughout our lives. A prophet is one who carries the Word of God into every part of human life. The prophetic message is God’s Word as it is lived out.
This is the last day of our liturgical year. Interestingly, the liturgical year ends as it began. You will understand that when you hear the readings of the First Sunday of Advent, for they are very much the same as we hear today. Jesus is coming. Ready to meet him when he comes again, we are blessed indeed.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator