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Bishop Paul Sirba: Fall awakens our hope of the Master’s return

As nature sheds her glory, and the daylight shades come earlier, what a beautiful fall we have had. We enter the month of November with hope and expectation: hope as members of the Communion of Saints on the road to glory, and expectation in the truth of our faith that we await the Master’s return with renewed joy and anticipation.

October brought numerous portents of the final consummation, with hurricanes, raging fires and earthquakes, civil unrest, and acts of terrorism. It also brought us powerful reminders of God’s faithfulness and our secure protection in Him. We celebrated that, in the end, “my Immaculate Heart will triumph,” as Our Lady of Fatima predicted, and concluded the 100th anniversary of the apparitions.

Bishop Paul Sirba
Bishop Paul Sirba
Fiat Voluntas Tua

We are under no illusions as Christians of the challenges to be faced as followers of Jesus Christ. In the Liturgy of the Church, the month of November celebrates the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls and culminates with the Feast of Christ the King. The Sacred Scriptures for those Holy Days rouse us from our slumber, sear our consciences with reminders of our responsibilities as adopted sons and daughters of God, and motivate us to reach out to the poorest of the poor as we await the Master’s return in glory. “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:31-46).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a description of what to expect in those last days (CCC 675- 677). Based on Sacred Scripture, the Catechism describes the last days as a period of final trial, deception, persecution, and the machinations of the Antichrist. What follows is a passage that describes the final consummation: “The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world” (CCC 677).

How do we prepare for all of this? We live our days in joyful expectation. Like lovers anticipating the return of the beloved. In the face of impending disaster? Yes! Because the Lord, Jesus Christ, has won the victory. In Him we have nothing to fear. Jesus will save us. Believe in Jesus. Serve Jesus. Trust Jesus!

Though we do not know the moment of the final consummation of the earth and of man, nor the way in which our universe will be transformed, we believe the old order will pass away and give rise to a new heavens and a new earth. One no longer distorted by sin, stains of self-love, and pride, but rather healed of wounds and becoming a well-spring of happiness, peace and love. Christ the King will rule in a universe renewed. We will contemplate the Beatific Vision in the Paschal Feast of heaven, forever.

Please join me in praying for the four men who will be ordained to the Permanent Diaconate on the Feast of Christ the King: Michael Marvin, Kyle Eller, Daniel Goshey, Steven Odegard, their wives and families. Vivat Christo Rey!

Bishop Paul Sirba is the ninth bishop of Duluth.