Readings about the Second Coming of Christ can really make our hearts quicken—but not necessarily with excitement. They can make us feel as if a dark cloud just entered the room, heralding doom, death and destruction. Is it because we are hiding something in our hearts that we don’t want to bring into the light? Perhaps, but when you get right down to it, this is a silly way to think. After all, God sees everything and he knows what is in the darkest recesses of our hearts and minds.
It’s true that as we give the Holy Spirit access into our hearts, he will begin to show us areas of our lives that we need to change—but he won’t do it in a condemning way that beats us down. Rather, he will fill us with hope as he shows us the road to freedom.
Today’s gospel, in spite of its doom and gloom, is an invitation for us to take stock. If we ask Our Lord to come in and purify us, we will find joy and peace, not fear and judgment. We may have some work to do, but it won’t be pointless labour. It will be more like spring-cleaning, resulting in a house that is clean and free of clutter and cobwebs. The closer we get to God, the more we will want to be free of the sins that enslave us and keep our eyes focused only on this world.
Our God is not a harsh judge waiting for us to trip and fall so that he can throw us in gaol. No, he is our Father and our Creator. He longs to form us into a people set apart for him, a people who are ready to welcome his Son when he returns in glory. Every step that we take towards God is a step towards getting ready for this event. It’s one more step out of the old life and into the new life.
We have Our Lord’s word for it that he will return in glory. He will bring judgment upon the sins of the world. But he will also bring salvation to all who are looking for him. So we must stay alert, and welcome him into our hearts today and every day.