Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Are you strong enough to last?

Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 13:14-23 - The Lord said to his disciples, "When you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by Daniel the prophet, set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything away; and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle.  And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days!  Pray that it may not happen in winter.  For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will be.  And if the Lord had not shortened the days, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.  And then if any one says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it.  False Christs and false prophets will arise and show signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.  But take heed; I have told you all things beforehand."

Triodion Day Three and the Church sends us another reminder of what is to come. Yesterday we were warned that we would be persecuted. Today we hear just how bad it is going to be. “If the Lord had not shortened the days, no human being would be saved.” It should come as no surprise the Church is shrinking. That much has been told to us. The question for us today, will we be strong enough to withstand the persecution and tribulation that is coming? The ONLY way for us to be prepared, or as prepared as possible, is for us to embrace the invitation of Christ, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 8.34) If we insist on catering to our own desires, then the tribulation will be too much for us to bear. The ONLY way to be strong enough to hold off the temptation so far as it might be in our power to do so, is to fully embrace the live the life that Christ has called His Church; prayer, fasting, almsgiving, the sacraments...the life that has (as we will be reminded on the First Sunday of Lent) established the universe.

No comments: