Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake their way,
and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord,
that he may have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Psalm 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
Every day I will bless you,
and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
and his compassion is over all that he has made.
The Lord is just in all his ways,
and kind in all his doings.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
Philippians 1:20-24, 27
Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.
Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Perhaps you have heard about the Christians who had forecast that the ‘Rapture’ was supposed to take place yesterday. I am going to take a chance as I publish this and say that it did not happen. I do not wish to mock any Christian brother about their faith who wants to send a message of repentance before it is too late. That is always good advice. But though Catholics do not believe in ‘The Rapture’ I have found the thought of the Rapture immensely engaging in my meditation on the scriptures today, especially the verse, “Seek the Lord while He may be found.” Just imagine waking up to discover you were left behind after the Rapture. Would there still be time to seek the Lord? Perhaps not. This line implies that time is going to run out.
We can understand the point of those who believe the world is shaping up for the end. We look around and see plenty of signs: earthquakes and historic hurricanes, the seas roaring, island nations being wiped out by them, wars, and rumors of wars. There are laws being made that disobey the natural law. Men’s hearts have grown cold and there is hostility to God and his Church. Many people have become unteachable. It is not a stretch to imagine that we are in the tribulation of the end times.
The scriptures promise we will not know the time of the end…but what if we did? Don’t we all have our own image of the end with Jesus coming on the clouds? Getting the chance to skip over death, be taken out of the mess below, may sound good at first, especially if we think we are ready. But what about the ones who are left behind? Don’t we all have loved ones and friends who ought to draw a lot closer to the Lord and to repent of sin, who would probably not make the list of people being raptured? Wouldn’t it be better to stay and work to convert them?
St. Paul has the perfect attitude: “my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.”
We hear in the Gospel reading today, that there are some who have simply not heard the call and the Master wants them to join in the work. So, while we have the time, we need to help others to find the Lord by living and sharing the Gospel with them.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You alone know when the time of the end will be. You desire that all men be saved. By Your infinite mercy and grace, I ask You to use me to help others find their way to salvation through faith in Jesus. May my life reflect the truth of the Gospel and may I never be afraid to share Your Word with those who need to hear it. Amen.