“Dear friends in Jesus, a king had a dream in which he lost all his teeth. Upon awakening he called in a man who explained dreams and asked him to explain his own dream. ‘Your Majesty, you are so unfortunate,’ the man explained, ‘each lost tooth represents the loss of a member of your family. You will be the only one surviving at the end.’ The king was so angry with his explanation as well as the bad news he brought that he punished him with 50 lashes. The king then sought a second opinion from another reader of dreams. After listening to the king’s dream, this guy almost screamed, ‘Lucky you, Your Majesty! Lucky You! It means you are going to outlive all your family members.’ The king was so happy with his explanation that he gave him 50 gold coins as reward. On his way out a soldier said to the dream reader, ‘But your explanation of the dream was the same as the first man’s.’ ‘That is true,’ he replied, ‘it all depends on how you look at it and explain it.’
Dear friends in Jesus, today’s readings speak to us of the second coming of Jesus. Various people look at the second coming in various ways, understand it in various ways and explain it in various ways. There are some who look at the second coming of Jesus in terms of destruction and wrath. The Lord comes, they say, to rain down His wrath and anger and to destroy this sinful world. These people stress the justice of God. There are some who think of it as a way of transforming this present world with all its limitations and suffering into a beautiful world of the Garden of Eden. God comes to establish a new world in which suffering and death have no place whatever they say. These people stress the love, compassion and mercy of God. If we want the second coming to be beneficial to us we must have a correct understanding of the same and this is what Jesus himself told us about His second coming. ‘Do not be troubled. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. I’m going to prepare a place for you. After preparing a place for you I will come back and take you to myself so that where I am you also may be. John 14:1-3. This passage, dear friends, makes two things very clear about the second coming of Jesus.
- He is coming to take us to the dwelling places He has been preparing for us since the foundation of the world.
- We do not know when He comes because we do not know as to how long it takes for Jesus to complete His work of preparing those dwelling places for us.
What we know for sure is this: Though it is His intention and desire to take all of us to Heaven when He comes a second time, not all of us can go with Him to Heaven for the simple reason that not all of us are ready for His coming or for Heaven. For example, St. John tells us in Revelation 21:27 that only those who are pure and those whose names are written in the book of life can accompany Jesus to Heaven when he comes a second time, so it is apparent that we got to do some stuff before we can accompany Jesus to Heaven when He comes the second time and today’s Gospel also makes it very clear when it says, ‘Jesus gathers only His elect when He comes the second time.’ So the important question about the second coming of Jesus is not the when of it or the how of it, but am I ready for it? The very first thing we got to do to get ready for the second coming of Jesus is to believe in it 100%.
Several years ago there was a story about a man in the newspapers. Accordingly he had left $57,000 in his will to Jesus. It was so that Jesus could use this money for his personal use when he returned at his second coming. Are we as serious as this man about the second coming of Jesus? If we do, we prepare for it not at the end of our life, but every moment of our life.
There is a funny story about why the male dogs raise their legs when peeing and I believe it can teach us a very important lesson about our readiness for the second coming of Jesus and here is the story- One day a dog was peeing by a wall when suddenly that wall collapsed. The dog narrowly escaped the collapse, called for a meeting of all dogs and told them that they should be very cautious when peeing. That it seems is the reason why they lift one of their hind legs while peeing as a protection against anything that might fall on them. What are the protections and precautions we have in place today so that the second coming of Jesus does not surprise us? Are we ready in case if it were to happen today? There are three things soldiers do to avoid death and defeat in war:
- They learn everything possible about their job.
- They practice their skills over and over again.
- They depend on each other.
Our life here on Earth is a war and like soldiers we need to do three things. We need to know our faith. We need to practice it every moment of our life and work in tandem with our fellow brothers and sisters so that they can raise us up every time we fall down. If we do so there’s only a matter of time before we join Jesus when He comes the second time and our prayer today is, ‘Lord help us to be your faithful stewards so that we are ready to open the doors whenever you come. Amen’”