top of page
  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

617 Do not abandon what You have begun in me But perfect all... (Announcements too)

Day 617 Monday, November 22, 2021

Do not abandon what You have begun in me,

But go on to perfect all that remains unfinished.

- A reflection by Jim Fredericks

We are in the last few weeks of Ordinary Time before the beginning of Advent and Jesus, as is always the case at this time of year, is in an apocalyptic mood. He has scary things to say about the end of time – scary at least if you are a sinner like me.

Jesus makes no bones about the end of the world:

In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

As if this were not vivid enough, Jesus goes on to talk about a judgment on the Last Day.

And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds' with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

Jesus was by no means the first Jew to talk about the end of the world and a judgment at the end of time.

A couple of hundred years before the time of Jesus, the author of the Book of Daniel, wrote about the end of time, saying,

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever;

others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace. But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.

People sometimes tell me that they don’t like it when I preach about the Last Day and the Final Judgment. This seems strange to me. These days, at least on television, judgment couldn’t be more popular.

We have Judge Judy glaring at delinquent tenants or estranged lovers in her court on the daytime TV. The humiliating judgments we see on “American Idol” and the joy we seem to take in such humiliations speak volumes about our love affair with judgment. I even know of a celebrity who has done quite well in promoting himself through a reality-TV show called “The Apprentice.” This celebrity famously renders judgment on some hapless contestant by shouting, “You’re fired!”

Maybe the reason that preaching about the Final Judgment isn’t popular is because we don’t want God to do the judging. God, apparently, is supposed to be like a nice neighbor, who never plays his stereo loud and is always home when you need to borrow a cup of sugar.

Yet we can be downright gleeful when we are doing the judging or when we get to watch someone else being judged.

In this regard, I have a confession to make.

I have a “little list” of people who, in my humble opinion, richly deserve to be consigned to the pit of damnation for all eternity. What’s more, I am quite confident that the Risen Lord, when he comes in his Glory after Gabriel blows his horn, will be in complete agreement with all the names I have put on my list. How could he not agree with someone as good at judging others as I am?

My only fear is that some of the people on my list may have made lists of their own. Could my name appear on one of these lists?

Have you got a list too?

Since this homily is getting complicated, allow me to offer some practical advice.

First, I think we should regularly remind ourselves that God will, one day, bring this world to an end. Moreover, he will end history with a judgment. Sometimes, people who don’t want to hear about a Final Judgment have said to me,

“What is your belief in a Final Judgment doing to you?”

To this, I can only say in reply,

“What is NOT believing in a judgment at the end of time doing to YOU? Do you really believe that our life in this world is just a knife-fight with no rules and no penalties for the bad guys?

The Creed reminds us that the Lord will “come again to judge the living and the dead.” Keeping this in mind puts a certain spiritual edge on the way we live our lives.

Second, I recommend that you remind yourself that Jesus will “come again to judge the living and the dead” whenever you are tempted to put another name on your “little list.” Remember that Jesus once said, “judge not lest you be judged.”

Third, and most important of all, I recommend that you recall what King David said in one of his Psalms. In the Mystery of God,

“Justice and mercy shall kiss.”

I am still trying to understand how this could be possible. Perhaps this explains why I haven’t thrown out my “little list.”

As I struggle with this, the Lord must be judging me with mercy. I say this because I came upon a beautiful prayer in Saint Augustine’s Confessions recently and I want to share it with you.

As he reflected on his troubled past, Augustine remembered that Christ would someday come again to judge the living and the dead. Then, he prayed,

Do not abandon what You have begun in me,

But go on to perfect all that remains unfinished.

Perhaps, on the Last Day, God will have perfected all that is unfinished in us. Then, surely, in the Final Judgment, justice and mercy shall kiss.

Announcement #1:

Interfaith gathering of Emmaus, St. Patrick's and Kenwood Community Church:

When: Thanksgiving Eve at Kenwood Community Church (all are invited)

Date: Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Time: 4:00

Location: 9637 Channing Row, P.O. Box 46

Kenwood, CA 95452

Announcement #2:

Dear Sisters and Brothers: I attended this meeting and was pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of anger at the structures of the church, its clericalism, misogyny and lack of understanding for the divorced, young people and members of the LGBTQ+ communities. The people who met are well informed and have weathered the sex and all the other scandals. They're on the verge of walking away. But they also expressed hope for this synod and for a synodal path forward.

Here's the report from Marcy Fox, the terrific woman who led the meeting.

Her email is:

Twenty-five members and neighbors of Star of the Valley Parish met at our first Synod meeting on Thursday, November 18. Our goal was to envision together a “different church.”

Here are some of the summary statements:

“We hope that the Church will turn from dogma and demands to love and acceptance, especially of those on the fringes of society.”

“We envision a Church that doesn’t judge others but where all can find the love of God.”

“We hope for a different Church, one that undertakes the mission of inclusiveness, especially for youth, LGBT community, the divorced, in other words all God’s children.”

“We admire the steps Pope Francis is taking to identify and address the issues facing our Church today.

“The American Church seems to be building walls today, walls of exclusion. Pope Francis is trying to open up our Church. We want an open church, not a Church for the few.”

“There are no structures for the laity to make their voices heard in our diocese. There is a disassociation of the diocesan Administration from the Parishes.”

Please put this on your calendars: It would be great to see members of our community express their concerns: Our next Synod meeting is on Thursday, December 16 at 1:30 p.m. All are welcome.

25 views0 comments
bottom of page