The scriptures today are so full of meaning that it would take the entire day to think about them, more in-depth. But, one common theme that runs through both of the readings today – is the sense of permanence. Permanence is a word that many people in our modern culture seems to shy away from. The secular world often lives by the attitude of living a certain way, until they are no longer happy, and then change things to suit their needs. In other words, if they don’t like something – they can just change it. Jobs, relationships, homes, etc.
There is a saying in our modern times that nothing is permanent, but death and taxes. Taxes are spent on transient things though. Death however, is permanent. It’s not like we haven’t been warned though. The word of God has been with us for thousands of years. The words in the bible are one of the few things that has continued to endure throughout the ages. No book in history has sold more copies than the Holy Bible. It is an all-time best seller.
In the last verse in the gospel today, Jesus said:
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
And, so far, this is true! This fact alone should give non-believers something to consider, because if Jesus Christ was just a man like any other man, his memory would have dwindled with time, and it hasn’t. Jesus’s words will endure forever.
Something else that is a little disconcerting about the first reading for Mass, from the book of Revelation though, is that our actions are permanently recorded as well. Mankind recorded the stories of the faithful men and women in the bible, God’s abiding presence among them, and their personal encounter with the Son of God. However, at the same time, our lives are being recorded, in writing, on scrolls in heaven.
This should give us a lot of food for thought today. Just like security cameras record criminal activity, the actions we do in life (both good and bad) are recorded too. In other words, everything we do is written down. If we were to read “the story” of our lives right now – how would it read? How would a stranger interpret our lives, from the outside looking in?
The reading from the book of Revelation mentioned twice that “the dead were judged according to their deeds.” Aside from what we have felt, or thought, or learned, or knew – what have we actually done? Do our actions match what we say we believe? If we wrote down just the facts of our lives, do they clearly reflect our love for God and neighbor? Or does the facts of our life so far, reflect our own pursuits and interests?
Let us be mindful of what the angels in heaven are recording on our own personal scroll. We might not be able to change what is written down so far, but we can change what we have left of our future. Let’s make the best of it. The future is yet to be. This Advent season is a good time to work on making sure our actions more clearly matches our beliefs. We should stop talking so much about what we believe, and just do it.