In today’s gospel, Jesus directly speaks about the end of time.  Jesus gave a warning to His disciples to prepare for trials and persecutions, that they were going to face in their lives.  Jesus is telling each of us to prepare our lives to face the tribulations and miseries, which we are going to face before the end of time.  The main message of the gospel reading is:  Don’t give up: when we go through our own challenges and struggles that we face in our lives – God is always with us!

Let me share with you a small story: Once upon a time, there were a bunch of tiny frogs, who arranged a running competition.   The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower.  A large crowd gathered around the tower to see the competition.  The race started, and the crowd did not believe that the tiny frog could reach the top of the tower.  The crowd started shouting and making some discouraging comments, such as, “The frogs will never make it to the top, not a chance that they will succeed because the tower is too high.”  When the tiny frogs heard these discouraging comments, they were so disappointed and began collapsing one by one. The crowd continued yelling with the same discouraging comments.  The tiny frogs got tired and gave up.  But one frog continued higher and higher…did not give up and reached the top of the tower, then all of the frogs wanted to know how he found the strength to succeed and reach the goal.  Later, they understood that the winning frog was DEAF.  So, the deaf frog could not hear any discouraging and negative comments made by the crowd. The winning frog was focusing and aiming to reach the goal!

The moral message of the story is: Never listen to others’ discouraging and negative comments. They will take your most wonderful dreams and wishes away from you.  Always listen and think with positive attitudes and go forward with whatever challenges and struggles we face.  We need perseverance and determination to reach our goals and successes.  Never… Never…  give up!

There are times in our lives when we feel and experience that everything seems to go wrong.  We all have those days when we get up on the wrong side of the bed when everything we touch seems to break when our world seems to be crashing down on top of us.  When we experience suffering and struggles, in our lives, we must remember Jesus’ words at the end of our gospel today, “By your perseverance, you will secure your lives.” The challenge for us is, “How can we persevere?”  This is only through the grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, and by focusing on the love of Christ and sharing that love with others.

Our lives and all our blessings are given to us as gifts to prepare us for the day of the Lord.  Every day, we are called to endure suffering – whether small or big.  We encounter difficulties and trials in our personal lives and family lives.  We live with tension, divisions, confusion, and fears, and hope for more peace and harmony.

However, every day brings God’s grace to the faithful ones to purify, to cleanse, to strengthen, and to prepare our lives for the Lord.  God, in our difficulties and illnesses, strengthens us and asks us to hang on – never to give up.  Grace is sufficient to get us through the tunnel.  So, for the faithful ones, the day of the Lord is a day of celebration and jubilation.   Every morning, when we wake up, we should thank God for giving us another opportunity to encounter God.  Each day is a step closer to the end day.  How we live, and our eternity, depends on how we handle each day.    Let us pray to the Lord for the grace to forget and forgive those who have inflicted us with pain, and may the Lord prepare us to enjoy the coming of the Lord, when we will have to account for our lives, and how we have used opportunities of grace.  “The end of time is near; we should turn ourselves around now before it is too late.”

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