Tag Archive for: end-times

Last Days: Lent Day 35

Lenten Recipe

Recipe 35: Roasted Eggplant with Cashews

 Lenten Journey Day 35- Last Days

Today’s Lenten meditation is a riddle of sorts. It begins with the very basic question; how can we be prepared for the return of Jesus Christ? As it unfolds, we find a very unique message with the instructions we need, with the exact steps we need to go through in preparation for a cataclysmic event. Spoiler alert: These instructions, however, have more to do with today than with tomorrow. This last Sunday of the Lent is called referred to as the Sunday of Advent in the Armenian Church. 

In the Creed of Nicaea, which we recite every Sunday during the Divine Liturgy, we confess the Second Coming. We say, Jesus is to return to judge the living and the dead. In scripture there are references to the “signs of the times.” Specifically, earthquakes, famines and wars are named as the events that will precede the coming of the end. Unfortunately, curiosity often gets the better of us, and rather than preparing for those last days we consume ourselves with questions of where, when, and how these last days will come about.

Our Lord Jesus tells us that no one knows the answer to those questions, not the angels in heaven, not even the son, but only the Father. But curiosity is powerful. The book of Revelation is often consulted to quench the thirst of curiosity. Revelation is a book of prophecy, and few can understand prophecy, many times the message is distorted by conjecture. The Church does not even prescribe reading this book (it is not in the lectionary of weekly readings) nevertheless, people read it and read into it. They point to hurricanes, famines and wars as signs of the times and then speculate that the end times are here. Jesus warned us against such misinterpretation of prophecies. In fact, a quick read of history shows that every time period has had hurricanes, famines and wars,

When then should we do? How do we prepare for the second coming? What is the Church’s prescription for preparedness?

The Gospel reading for this day has the answer. Instead of turning to a book of prophecy, the Church turns to something much greater, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel reading for this day comes from the 22nd chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew. The narrative begins with the Pharisees approaching Jesus to trick him with a question as to which is the “greatest” commandment. Thinking that Jesus may pick one, they will then have an opportunity to show him the error in his ways. Jesus answers, “The greatest commandment is that you love your Lord your God with all your heart, your mind and your soul and the second commandment is that you love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments, Jesus tells us, the rest of the laws and the prophets are all based. In other words, love for God, love for neighbor supersedes all other commandments.

Because this passage is placed as the lectionary reading for this Advent Sunday, it is understood the instruction for preparedness for the second coming of Christ! The riddle has been answered. The best preparation for the second coming is to accept and live the message of the first coming. Love with all your mind, body, soul and heart the Lord your God and your neighbor.

During this Lenten journey you have meditated about many different forces that effect you. You have accepted concepts and ideas that improve you self, that bring your life back down to the bare minimum. Answering the question, what is essential for you to survive? What is really necessary for that happiness that comes not from without, but from within.

Today’s message, today’s instruction is at the heart of it. It brings you even closer to understanding the essence of life. When you love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, that is, with everything that you have, you cannot help but love your neighbor, you cannot help but love yourself, you cannot help but to reach out to others in need, be they friends, families, be they people you do not know or even people who wish you ill. In other words, you rise for your humanity and take a different look, from God’s vantage point, realizing that everyone around you is truly related to us. They are your brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, your children. In this sense you become united with the Grand Will, with the Great Will of the universe, with God’s Will, who from the beginning of time willed this existence into being because of His Love, His infinite love.

Today you are given this unique perspective. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your mind, your soul tells us to be prepared, not for some future date but for today. The Christian is called to always be prepared by always loving. It is God’s way. He always loves.

The best way to prepare for the Second Coming is to practice the teaching of the First Coming!

Today’s prayer comes to us from the gospels of Matthew chapter 25. It is the prayer of the last day. It is offered to us as a parable by our Lord Jesus Christ.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.  Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Cover Photo: Luna & Gregory Beylerian, 2023

Memento Mori

Next Step #596: It’s debatable whether or not he who dies with the most toys wins; however, what is not up for discussion is that he who dies with the most toys, still dies! Two biographies – one of the Gambler Kirk Kerkorian and the other, Apple & Pixar CEO Steve Jobs, are the backdrops for this week’s Next Step: Memento Mori. Up close and personal, here’s Fr. Vazken’s personal journey as he discusses living with the lie of reconciling the virtual with reality and how that journey has led to the doorstep of Armodoxy. Outreach vs. inreach ministry: how to survive on principles and moving from the end-time obsession to living for the day.
Alan Hovhaness “The Prayer of St. Gregory
Steve Jobs” Walter Isaacson
The Gambler” Kirk Kerkorian
Window View of the Armenian Church
Serenity Prayer – Reinhold Niebuhr
Center of Attention (Armenian)
Timex Sinclair
Atheists in Foxholes
Cover: Cups Fr. Vazken 2010
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for http://InHisShoes.org
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
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For Marriage and Children Too?

Next Step #176 – October 20, 2011

The discussion about end times consumes this podcast – but not all about the Rapture! Once again, the headlines discredit the Christian church by throwing the baby out with the bath water. Two Catholicoi land on the North American continent; Marriage is losing and so are the children as modern family life looks beyond the children it produces. Beginnings of a discussion/dialog about the forgotten children.
Story of Stacie Crimm’s sacrifice
Song: “Fire of your Love” by Hover
Ani’s Bubble: Questions for God.
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net
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This Episode is Sponsored by Nicholas & Janine Economides