Synopsis: This is one of my most important homilies ever, and involves a very personal story. The Scripture today mentions the Second Coming of the Lord, and Jesus gives instructions that are easy to understand. Basically, He teaches that if there is time to talk about the supposed arrival of Him in the second coming, it is NOT happening. His coming will be so fast that "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." This scripture has always meant a great deal to me, because of hearing it long ago spoken to a person who was absolutely convinced that she could never be deceived. even though at the time she was in a sinful relationship with a man. She figured that God would forgive he when they married, and she was right; God forgives all who repent, but the question that has always been on my mind since that day is, would there come a timer, after many days, months, years of sin that a person would not longer desire to repent, and be capable of being deluded regarding things they formally understood? This is a critical question!
Matthew 24:13-28 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. 23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
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Just a few thoughts from reading this:
If a person is not convinced of the need to repent now, they are not on a trajectory leading towards repentance later.
To repent would mean not only to stop sinning but to regret having continued in sin before. So marriage alone would not be a true conviction, confession and repentance of the sin of fornication but simply trying to 'have your cake and eat it, too' (i.e. sin while it's convenient and get absolution when your done.)
Ignoring the pangs of conscience dulls the conscience, making future repentance less likely.
Certainty that we will not be deceived when tested is a sure way to be deceived when tested—-just ask St. Peter about that.
….or rather: "We are already deceiving ourselves if we are convinced and certain that we will not be deceived or fail when tested."
The final thought I had on this is that I am guilty of doing this everyday—there are plenty of areas of sin that I need to work on, things that I need to stop doing. Although I know that they are wrong, I continue in various bad habits with the idea in the back of my head that one day I will stop and believe that when the day of real testing comes I will be ready for it. Sometimes I even convince myself that this confidence is 'faith', when, in reality, most of the time it is simply my excuse to continue in slothfulness…..
Thank you for convicting words.