Our ongoing conversion is our work until the end.
The Gospel today shows the stark beginnings of the work Christ gave his apostles, but it also shows signs of the end of all things.
Jesus sent his chosen Twelve out across the land, with walking sticks, the clothes on their backs, and his authority over unclean spirits, but with nothing else.
The Twelve did three works that hint at the end of all things: they preached repentance or conversion, they drove out many demons, and they cured many who were sick.
At the end of all things, there will also be a new beginning to match these three works the Twelve did.
They preached repentance.
At the end of all things, the repentant will never sin again, but will freely hold forever to God with unbounded joy, knowledge and holiness.
The Twelve drove out many demons.
At the end of all things, all that is demonic and evil will meet final and everlasting defeat.
The chosen Twelve cured many who were sick.
At the end of all things, all sickly and dead bodies of those faithful to goodness will rise to newness of health, glory and life without end.
Those three works Christ gave to his chosen Twelve are present as we now celebrate Christ’s Gospel and Eucharist here: working for conversions, driving off evils and the demonic, and seeking to save health and life.
This work in the here and now also makes really present all that is to come at the end of all things, because Christ gives us in his Eucharist the covenant that is new and already eternal.
Celebrating his Word, his Body and his Blood here and now, we are also to be mindful of the end of all things and the new and everlasting beginning.
In the second reading from the word of the Lord today is a song about the coming end and the everlasting beginning that we meet here in sacramental signs.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him,
before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.
In him we have redemption by his blood,
the forgiveness of transgressions,
in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.
It says we have redemption by his blood.
The Son of God, who sent his chosen Twelve to preach conversion, has himself converted to become a man of flesh and blood.
The Holy One converted so that he could be reckoned as a sinner.
God converted so that he could die among sinners, die in solidarity with sinners, and die for sinners.
He converted unto death.
The he converted death into life.
God rose from the dead still a member of our human race, so that he could be the beginning and the door for sinners to convert and rise from the dead into glory as sons and daughters of God.
He converts in his Eucharist, so that we might break his Body with our bodies, and shed his Blood into our blood, so that by his brokenness and by his wounds we might be healed.
We might be here seeking to be healed of some bodily suffering, or some emotional wound.
Even if we get healing, we will lose it again at the end of all things, if we have not repented, if we have not turned to goodness after the image and likeness of God.
It is not that God holds sin against us.
Rather, it is that we hold onto sin.
All the history of suffering, sickness, wounds, and death began with the original sin.
At the end of all things, God will put an end to all suffering, an end to all sickness, an end to all wounds, an end to death— and God will do so by putting an end to all sin.
However, God will not do it for us against our wills.
At the end of all things those who have chosen to hold onto sin, will hold their sin forever, because they have freely chosen to turn away from mercy, life, goodness and glory.
The end of the second reading from the word of the Lord today tells us about our faith, our ongoing conversion and the power that God gives us for everlasting freedom and glory.
In Christ, you:
have heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him,
were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
which is the first installment of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s possession,
to the praise of his glory.
Do we want our inheritance of everlasting healing, life and glory?
Then, with the disciples, all the angels and saints, let us join Christ and the Holy Spirit in driving the evil of sin out of our lives, and let us with stark faith turn— repent— and hold fast to God the giver of mercy and glory.
Our ongoing conversion!
Turn. Love. Repeat.