Readings: Jeremiah 33:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2; Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
I would not limit today’s Gospel to those who will live through the end of time. Even if I never have to face the catastrophes indicated by this Gospel, I am not exempt from the return of the Son of Man. There are many ways that the Lord may return to my life and I have no reason to presume that he will confirm my complacency.
Every day you and I are assailed by news of shattering catastrophes derailing so many lives. Is this water off the proverbial duck’s back or does such news reshape my world-view and responses? Do I sap energy from other people to insulate my life from discomfort or do I improve the atmosphere and respond to others?
This, too, is Christ’s return and the final judgment is already lived out in my flesh.
When I truly perceive the Christ, I have to see myself clearly in his light and I am bound to be disappointed by what I find. Yes, Christ comes to us in mercy and forgiveness, comes to us as love; but I need mercy, forgiveness and love because I am so faulty and unloving. Yes, Jesus cherishes my imperfect love and I can hasten to him with confidence–but also with humility and awe. Clothed in gratitude, I would be aware of all that he is, and all I am not. In an undramatic way, such an encounter is a catastrophe describing the inadequacies of my present course, requiring radical change.
That may be unsettling in a good way, but it’s still unsettling, the end of my world as I know it. As the seed of the New Creation, can I tend that fragile growth in the barren soil of my life with anything but fear and trembling?