We are in the closing days of Ordinary Time with the season of Advent right around the corner! The days have been busy with the celebration of Thanksgiving, a time when we pause to reflect on our many blessings. Last Sunday we celebrated the Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The scriptures on that day reminded us of our call to take care of the less fortunate among us and to share our wealth with those who have so little. Today we hear Jesus warning us to stay focused on the new life we will enjoy in the Kingdom of God if we are faithful. Jesus warned his followers and us as well, to watch for the signs that will lead us to the Kingdom.
Jesus talks about the importance of the signs all around us that can either keep us on the kingdom path or lead us away. I was thinking about how we are inundated by signs, billboards, news feeds, commentaries, technology, etc. I think that because there are so many signs and so many diverse messages with which we are inundated, we pretty much tune them out or prioritize a specific few we want to follow.
The Five Man Electrical Band introduced the song SIGNS in 1971 which became very popular even to the present day. The chorus goes like this:
Sign, sign/Everywhere a sign/Blockin’ out the scenery/Breakin’ my mind.
Do this, Don’t do that/Can’t you read the sign?
The artists tried to point out how society, especially at that time, imposed unhealthy and unjust restrictions on those persons unwilling to become part of the ‘in’ crowd. When this happens, one becomes a puppet on a string, controlled by those around us who do not have our best interests at heart. This is what Jesus was preaching against in the gospel.
In 2023 artist Michael W. Smith introduced a song by the same name, SIGNS. The lyrics in the chorus go like this:
Follow the signs/open your eyes/Read between the lines of what you see
Look into the soul of reality/open your mind/look at the signs/
Never look back at yesterday/keep your gaze steady on the narrow way.
Michael W. Smith said that ‘Signs’ is a song about paying attention to the little things that often go unnoticed. It reminds us to appreciate the moments that shape our existence and to be open to the signs that guide us along the way.
As we move through these last few days of the church year, let us remember to read the signs of the time, reject the temptations of the ‘in’ crowd and keep our gaze on the narrow way that Jesus sets before us. Remember Jesus tells us ‘Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” It doesn’t get any better than that! Advent Blessings!
Theresa Secord is a retired Pastoral Associate at St. Agnes Parish, Louisville, Kentucky.