In two more days, we will end our liturgical year and on Sunday, we begin a new one. The readings until Sunday will be about the end of time, when the devil will be defeated and Death and Hades will give up their dead so the dead will be judged. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. John continues: this is the second death, the lake of fire; and anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. This is the general judgment where every one will be judged according to their works. Will there be people thrown to the lake of fire? Apparently, yes, those whose name was not found written in the book of life. Scripture then tells us that there are people in hell. The Catholic Church does not say who, but there definitely are people in hell, contrary to what some say there is a reasonable hope that all will be saved.
After the judgment, John saw a new heaven and a new earth. He sees the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down our of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. This will be the time when Jesus will be united with those whose names are in the book of life. Those who live with the Lord in this life will be fully united with him in the next. We cannot expect to be united with God in the afterlife if we do not strive to live with him here on earth. In the Book of Deuteronomy, God gave his people a choice: life or death and he commanded them to choose life! Union with God in heaven is a choice and we make that choice here on earth. If we seek God in this life, we will find him in the next. But if I life my life my way, then we will not find him in the next.
Jesus tells us in the Gospel we are to be ready because these things will happen. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. This is our choice. Do I want to believe a human being who expresses his opinion about the coming of Jesus, or do I believe the Word of Jesus about his coming? If I believe in the Word of Jesus, then I need to seek him as the Psalmist said: my soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Lord, I seek your face. Help me always to choose life, to desire life which is found only by living in you. In these difficulties, let me choose to trust you. In the darkness, let me choose your light and run after you. Never let me be deceived by eloquent words of human beings, because only your Word will not pass away. You have the words of eternal life.