The Season of the Moon
The autumn equinox arrived in late September. It marked the time when night slowly begins to grow longer, and daylight shorter. It is called the season of the moon. Spiritually, this time symbolizes a period of struggle between darkness and light, death, and life. The year is coming to a close, to an end. This time can be unsettling if we are not ready, not prepared.
Today’s gospel reflects the season of the moon, a coming end time. Jesus tells his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man.” They were eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage up to the day Noah and his family entered the ark. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights. The flood waters destroyed everything on earth.
Jesus recalls the story of Lot. In Lot’s time, they also were eating, drinking, buying, and selling. But on the day Lot and his family left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained down on the town and destroyed everyone and everything. The demands and distractions of daily life left them unprepared for the “end time.”
This seemingly dark gospel, coming at a dark time of the year, should call us to reflection. The Church reminds us that the end of the liturgical season draws near. In less than three weeks, we will enter the new season of Advent. It is time to get ready, to prepare for this “end time.”
With this gospel, Christ also encourages us to reflect – as in Noah’s and Lot’s times, the end times are always upon us. Christ urges us to be always ready, always prepared to meet Jesus in those we encounter in our daily lives, in the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes in the darkness of Bethlehem, and, in the “end time,” face-to-face worshiping God in the Kingdom.
This is the season of the moon, a season to reflect, a season in the still of night urging us to be ready for the coming of Christ.
Deacon Manuel Valencia is on the staff at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.