The Gospel reading from the Mass for Saturday for the 34th Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 21:34-36.

After warning of the catastrophic world upheavals that will proceed His Second Coming, Christ reassured His disciples to be confident in His promises of redemption for those who give themselves to Him. To help men endure, Christ offers a final exhortation to remain upright and always watchful, for the Second Coming may happen at any time.

Christ gives a dire warning to all men about living in the last days, to take heed (to be extremely cautious or wary).  Rather than allowing hearts to become “weighted down with dissipation” in reaction to the desolation and destruction to come, men are to filled with joyful anticipation of salvation (v. 28). Rather than fall into drunkenness to avoid facing the inevitable, men are to remain sober.  Rather than falling into “anxieties of life”, men are to called to heroic courage and to face the coming storm with faith.

Christ urges men to vigilantly prepare for the Judgment that is to come to “all who dwell on the face of whole the earth.” The end will come suddenly like a hidden trap (a snare) that violently and quickly closes a noose around an animal. He urges men to be on “watch at all times”, a warning of the need to pursue a disciplined life of prayer that daily seeks to grow in holiness; by spiritual disciplines devoted to Christ men build endurance and resilience. No one will escape Christ’s Judgment; men should continually pray to be prepared to stand (rather than cower and hide in guilty fear) in humble confidence that they have given Christ their best and to rely on His Mercy.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of Man, Christ has intimate knowledge of the future turmoil and glory of the Second Coming. Divine Judge, Christ reveals that all men will be judged.  Divine King, Christ exhorts men to live their lives with vigilance so they may stand with confidence at their inevitable Judgment.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Despite the dramatic growth of knowledge and technology, man’s ability to forecast the future is extremely limited (e.g. weather forecasts, political campaign results, stock market predictions). Marvel Christ’s accurate prediction the fall of Jerusalem 40 years in the future and His bold revelation of His Second Coming thousands of years in the future (2000 and counting so far!).

2) In some sense, Christ’s Second Coming occurs for each soul the moment that they die and stand in His Presence in the Judgment (CCC 1021).  Reflect on your own inevitable Death (CCC 1006-1019) and pray for Mary to intercede for you at “the hour of [your] death” and to entrust yourself to St. Joseph, the “patron of a happy death.”

3) Given the uncertainty of when the Second Coming will occur and the time of each man’s death, Christ exhorts men to always be watchful.  Reflect on the Need to be Watchful (CCC 672, 1036, 1821, 2612, 2638, 2719, 2742, 2849) and pray for Christ to help you to always be vigilant and prepared to meet Him at any time.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Virgin Mary

Virtue of the Day – Hope

Corporal Work of Mercy – To bury the dead

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To pray for the living and the dead