The prophet Malachi warns us of the coming of the Lord as the purifying light of the sun. “Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch, says the LORD of hosts. But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.” We can be burnt by the sun or warmed by its rays; the difference is how we receive the light and heat. Malachi cuts to the heart, revealing our disposition toward God. Are we afraid of God’s wrath, or do we look forward to the joy of being in God’s presence?
The difference is sin. If we are attached to our sins, then we will want to hide them away from God. We can be tempted to hide ourselves from God to avoid letting God burn away those parts of our lives that are unworthy of being in God’s presence—unworthy of heaven. Yet without this purification, we cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. We believe that God provides us this opportunity to leave our sins behind (we call this purifying state Purgatory), but if we chose to love our sins more than we love God, then we will be stuck in the torment of our sins (Hell).
The Day of the Lord will come for us all, either at the end of our earthly life or at the end of all things. Either way, we must be prepared for the coming of the Lord. Are we willing to cast off the shadows of our sins and bask in the warmth of God’s love? When we are no longer able to hide, will we walk willingly in the light? We need not wait for some future day. We can walk today in the light of life. We can celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and let the light of Christ Jesus shine on our whole selves. May we have the courage and the humility to welcome God’s purifying mercy.