Summary: Begin with “end of the world” in mind.
In a best-selling book that first came out in the late 80’s, Stephen Covey identified what he called the ‘seven habits of highly effective people.’ The second habit the author lists is: Begin with the End in Mind.
1). Today, on the Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Readings are always on this theme of living with the “end of the world” in mind.
The background for this Sunday is that Christ will judge us immediately after our death, and on the last day. The sentence given at the particular judgment will not be changed at the general judgment, but it will be repeated and made public to all.
E.g. Our First Reading tells us that there will be an eternal separation of the good from the wicked, and that “some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.” Daniel 12:2
This verse is important because it helps us to offset the “cultural cognitive distortions” that would have us believe that somehow everyone will end up happy in God’s heaven after they die, or that we can create our own reality by altering our consciousness by some New Age practice.
Although it is Christ’s will and our own that no one be lost, everyone nevertheless has a choice and “on the Day of Judgment all men will appear in their own bodies before Christ’s tribunal to render an account of their own deeds” (Catechism 1058-9).
Our eternity depends on it. We are presented this Sunday with a view on human history, our histories, from the view of looking backwards
“No one can go back and make a brand-new start, my friend; but anyone can start from here and make a brand- new end.” ~Dan Zadra
This apocalyptic time that is coming, which every single person who ever was conceived will be present at, tells us that human affairs are thus set on a cosmic stage, our actions and thoughts have an eternal significance.
2). It is very wise to be and do those acts which will make our judgment a happy event:
First, do good works. Our First Reading assures us that those who are wise will be become radiant like the radiance of the firmament, and the ones who bring many to righteousness will become like the stars forever (Daniel 12:3).
Second, have a good conscience by frequenting on a regular basis the Sacrament of Penance.
St. Michael the Archangel will be used by God to defend us, as our First Reading says: "At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people (Daniel 12:1). In the decisive battle at the end of the world, Michael’s army is victorious. But, for us, now on earth, one of the duties of St. Michael is to protect the souls of the faithful from the power of Satan, especially at the hour of death.
This will happen in the realm of our conscience. If we can touch God at all, where do we touch him save in the conscience?
The root of the Greek word translated as "conscience," means to be aware. Conscience is the voice of God in the soul.
Since angels are the messengers of God, our conscience is the means through which ‘the better angels of our nature” communicate God’s will to us.
In sum, beginning now with our end in mind, is the way to spend the rest our days on earth proactively seeking to do good works and keep a good conscience.
If we do, we can rejoice that names are written in book of life. Luke 10:20