Every morning, before facing the day’s troubles, I read a chapter of the Bible, from Genesis to Apocalypse. Since there are 1,189 chapters in the Bible, it takes me about three years to go through the entire Book of Books. This morning I read Our Lord’s description of the end times in Matthew 24:21: “For then there will be great distress such as, until now, since the world began, there never has been, nor ever will be again.” Let the reader understand. On the Day the Lord returns to render final justice, the terrible crimes and sins of priest and people alike will be burned away by fire, and who can survive that judgement?
We usually don't take Christ’s apocalyptic warnings as a matter of concern. He said them 2000 years ago and so far nothing has happened. We will probably die in our beds, or perhaps sedated in a “care facility,” before those fearsome days take place. But, in fact, each of us will die, and after death I will held accountable for what I did in the flesh. Who can imagine the trauma of that Day when I am judged for the sins and injustices I committed against God and man? Verse 22 continues: “And if that time had not been shortened, no one would survive. But shortened that time shall be, for the sake of those who are chosen.” We have all been chosen to go to heaven, but we must accept that gift of God. We must cling to the First Coming of Christ, the irresistible smile of Jesus from His cradle in Bethlehem, in order to endure the Second Coming of that same Christ. God will render justice; he will "purify the sons of Levi" by fire, and not one of us will survive it, unless we take refuge in the Sacred Heart of the Babe in Bethlehem.