Nahum 2:1, 3:1-3, 6-7
The first Christians, all being Jews, had a clear expectation of the of the Messiah. The Messiah was going bring the Kingdom of God, and that meant the end of the world as we know it. When Jesus died, rose then ascended, but the world had not changed, their first port of call was to expect an imminent return. We see this reflected in today’s Gospel where Matthew has Jesus say, “there are some of these standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming with his kingdom.” There was a sense of urgency, therefore, and there was no time to waste. A disciple had to be prepared to take up their cross and lose their life for the sake of the Gospel, because if the end came and you were trying to save your life, you would have lost everything.
What does this say to us, given we don’t have the same expectation of an imminent return of Christ, given 2000 years have passed and he hasn’t shown yet? Well, the end of the world may not come in our lifetime, but the end of ‘our world’ will, the day we die. We only have a short life to live as faithful disciples of Christ. When our end comes, do we want to have gained this world, which we cannot take with us, or do we want to have gained Christ?
Fr. Ray Sanchez CP is the leader of the Oxley community and responsible for Parish Missions and Retreats throughout Australia and NZ.