As we approach the end of the Church’s year, today’s readings lead us to think about the passage of time and the end of the world. Though outwardly daunting, they provide a message of hope for those who stay faithful to God’s love.

The prophet Malachi (First Reading) uses stark imagery to portray the fate of those who do not respect the Lord. But the ones who remain faithful to him will see the day that is coming as a time of joy and healing.

In the Gospel, Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, but tells us not to fear wars, persecution, and natural disasters. While these things may seem like the end, in fact they are not: he cautions us not to be deceived by those claiming that ‘the time has come’. Even when in difficulty, we are not to worry about what to say: the Spirit of Jesus will give us words and wisdom, as we bear witness to Christ. By staying secure in the love that God has for us, we will be held safe.

Paul presents himself as a model to the Thessalonian church (Second Reading), spreading the Good News and earning his keep. He stresses the importance of the whole community working for the good of all, rather than sitting around thinking about the future.

The Psalmist is certain of the Lord’s coming, when justice will prevail. All creation is invited to join in the joyful proclamation of that coming.

This week, I may like to pray for trust and inner strength, keeping Christ at my side, and responding to him in every moment of my daily life.