The Son of Man says He is coming in great power and glory.
In this Sunday’s reading we have begun what the Church calls the “End Time” readings…Daniel opens the Book of Life; Jesus is proclaimed Christ our High Priest; and the Son of Man says He is coming in great power and glory. The “End Time” readings are often overshadowed by our sense of dread of judgement. But that is not their true meaning…the true meaning is God’s victory in giving us unending joy, beatitude and life everlasting. What great and hopeful readings these are when we read them with a grateful heart. What is the power and glory of the coming of the Son of Man? The power and glory of the coming of the Son of Man is your happiness, or more accurately your beatitude and joy… confirmed! But how do we find happiness or beatitude in this life? Synderesis is a good start. My computer retypes “synderesis” as “send them to the races”. I remember in the Seminary, in our Moral Theology class, the first time I heard the term “synderesis”. I really liked it. Synderesis is the term “theologians” use to explain that universal spark left by God after the fall of Adam and Eve, left in the human heart, a spark asking us to do good and avoid evil. Moral theologians say, if every human being followed these 3 moral laws written in their hearts (conscience), we would all have a naturally happy life here on earth, they would guide us and our neighbour, to a natural social happiness.
The three general laws are;
- Firstly, to do no harm,
- Procreation activity belongs to God, and should be respected,
- And thirdly we are higher than the animals, we humans should act with reason and virtue.
Synderesis is a very early invitation to join the book of the living, and to have a happy life. You may be asking by now, what about the 10 commandments? The 10 Commandments are the natural law (synderesis) expanded for God’s people Israel. The Commandments are taught to us through the scriptures. The next way we can pursue a life of happiness is through, the human virtues. All human beings can find happiness by living a virtuous life. They can do this by being faithful, having a true sense of hope in the goodness of life, gifting acts of love, being prudent, being always just, and finally having fortitude and temperance in all things while living in this imperfect world. The Son of Man says He is coming in great power and glory. And of course through baptism God’s Holy Spirit dwells in our souls giving us His life. Through this in-dwelling we are immersed in the life of God and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Wait there’s more…from the gifts of the Holy Spirit we are called to become “images of Christ” i.e. other Christus, the Anointed Ones. The book of life includes the Beatitudes, which are often read at funerals for our dear loved ones. The beatitudes allow us to be imitations of Christ. I personally like the amplified bible https://ebible.com/amp/section/1550 for the Beatitudes, it’s just so much richer…Matthew 5:1-12 Blessed spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired, are the poor in spirit, those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven both now and forever. Blessed and enviably happy, with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favour and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted! Blessed happy, blithesome, joyous, spiritually prosperous…with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favour and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions are the meek, the mild, patient, long-suffering, for they shall inherit the earth! I can just hear Jesus teaching the beatitudes in this way.
Catholics are often accused of having too many rules and laws. But Saint Augustine in his treaties “The standards of the Catholic Church” begins with the question of happiness. Am I happy now, can this happiness increase, will I attain future permanent happiness? The answer today is clearly yes, because the Son of Man says, He is coming in great power and glory. As the scriptures say; if we follow the “precepts of the Lord” we are guaranteed happiness in this life, and happiness/ beatitude in life to come.
God bless, Fr Andrew Matthew