In this morning's Gospel we hear about Jesus coming to judge the living and the dead. But we need to know that his judgment will not be a judgment of vindictiveness, but a judgment of truth. Jesus is the truth. He knows us through and through: all the choices we have made for good or for bad; all the circumstances that influenced our decisions; all our efforts or lack of them to turn to his mercy. We already anticipate his judgment in the Sacrament of Confession when in his presence truth speaks to Truth. But when his truth meets our truth, judgment reveals mercy. Mercy is a close ally of truth, and when they come together, they give birth to hope. And hope does not disappoint us – it is the light of the Lord.
Isaiah has that wonderful saying, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks….” Our monastic life of vigils, fasting, silence, and especially the common life is designed to beat our swords – that is, our passions – into plowshares so that peace may be sown among us. Our goal is perfect charity, a charity that reaches out to those who might be left behind. The Gospel speaks of two men in the field and two women grinding at the mill. Let us not refuse to join those in the field or those grinding away at life’s daily tasks. May our charity become like bands of love, reaching out to make sure no one is left behind. This is what the Lord wants of us.
Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The Lord is near, especially in the Holy Eucharist. As we begin a new liturgical year, let us set out, following the Spirit’s lead, and walk in the light of the Lord – believing and hoping and loving – reflecting the light of Christ so that his salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.