Ephesians 3:2 – 12
Luke 12:39 – 48
For me, one of many memorable scenes from a movie comes from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic "The Birds". Folks gathered in a pub are arguing about the nature of the birds which seem to be behaving rather strangely of late. Suddenly a great flock of birds attack and one of the regular patrons yells out , "It’s the end of the world !!!" We have been inundated in more recent years with books, movies, faith treatises and articles about the end times. We have only to remember all of the ink spilled over the multiple predictions about the end of the world as we approached the end of the century.
As we can see from today’s gospel, anxiety over the end of the world (or in New Testament language, the Second Coming of Christ) dates right back to the first century and has been a recurring theme ever since. The remedy for that concern which Jesus provides in today’s gospel remains the same now as it was when Luke recorded Jesus’ solution to the wonderings. Jesus suggests to us that we ought not to take a chance on salvation. We should avoid gambling on the timing of His Second Coming. How do we do this ? How do we make sure we are ready and waiting when the end time arrives ? Jesus makes it quite clear and it is not terribly complicated. Focus our attention and our energies on today, i.e. on the life and responsibilities which present themselves to us as we wake up each morning. Looking ahead to tomorrow, or next month, or five years from now and wondering, ‘Will it be then ?’, can only create an anxiety which leaves us absent from today’s living and graces. Such a preoccupation with what might be leads us to neglect and miss what is present to us today in our relationship with God and with one another. It weighs down the faith life and dampens our appreciation of God’s choice to journey with us through this life each and every day in the person of Jesus Himself.
We are encouraged today to follow the suggestion of Jesus to live each day focused on our life with Him. Concentrate on making His teachings, His values, His choices our own here and now – today, in these very real circumstances of life. We are called today to live with an abiding awareness that living a compassionate, caring and virtuous life today will make us ready for anything at any time. If we are focused on living our faith life well each day, then should someone yell out to us , "It’s the end of the world !!!", we will be able to yell back with confidence, "It’s Okay – we’re ready !!!"
Fr. Richard Burke, CP, is a member of St. Paul of the Cross Province and also serves on the Provincial Council of Holy Cross Province. He lives at St. Ann’s Monastery in Scranton, Pennsylvania.