Every night before I go to sleep I watch ABC’s Nightline. At the end of the program there is a segment called Sign of the Times. These short, upbeat pieces close the broadcast, sending viewers off to bed with something light and unthreatening. Recent subjects have ranged from dog pampering to eco-friendly houses made of garbage. A specialty of "Sign" is the pop culture trend. As I read today’s Gospel I couldn’t help but think that Jesus used the image of a fig tree to teach his disciples about reading the "signs of the times."
It struck me how the meaning of that simple phrase has changed, for some, from Apocalyptic Discourse to triviality. It is easy, to let ourselves get caught up in the inconsequential instead of opening our hearts and reading and interpreting what is happening in the world. We need to be ever ready to recognize the signs so that when we see them we’ll know that the kingdom of God is near. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus says: "But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, no one but the Father: (Mk13, 32). As we wait, we must walk with God every day, by embracing his presence in our lives.
Advent begins this Sunday; it is a time of watching, waiting, longing and peaceful expectation. It is also a time of purification and renewal as we seek to make our hearts ready for the coming of Christ. As we go forward, may we find joy and hope in His word and peace in knowing that we are working toward the ultimate goal to "Stand before the Son of Man" on that Great Day of the Lord.
Angela Kwasinski, Director of Planned and Major Gifts for The Passionists of Holy Cross Province.