READING THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES

Friday, 29th Week in Ordinary Time               

            In today’s gospel passage, Jesus rebukes his contemporaries for being able to predict the weather by interpreting or ‘reading’ the signs provided by nature, yet being unable to read and interpret the signs of God’s kingdom – being unable to discern God’s message in what is happening around us. Pope John XXIII used the term “signs of the times” – referring to the distinctive characteristics of our age. As followers of Christ, we should be able to read the “signs of the times.” Vatican II (Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) says: “The Church must continually examine the signs of the times and interpret them in the light of the gospel.”

            Reading the “signs of the times” involves three things: seeing, judging, and acting. It involves SEEING – that is, I must be able to perceive what is happening around me – to see with the eyes of faith. What are the social and moral issues that I need to pay attention to? Who are involved? What is at stake? It involves JUDGING – that is, I must be able to discern which of the things that are happening around me are in accord to God’s will and which ones are not. I must hold the Bible with my one hand and the newspaper with my other hand. Meaning, I must interpret the meaning and implication of the social and moral issues based on the Word of God, and I must understand what God is asking me to do about them. It involves ACTING – that is, I must act decisively to do what is right and to fight what is evil. I must do what the signs of the times call for from me: be it standing firm on the dignity and value of human life, condemning the violation of human rights, fighting for the poor and marginalized.

            Let us ask the Lord to open our eyes, enlighten our minds, and grant us wisdom to understand the signs of the times and to act accordingly. Let us beg the Lord to help us transform a world of poverty and injustice into a world of sharing and integrity…a world of apathy and indifference into a world of genuine concern and active involvement…a world of war and violence into a world of peace, forgiveness, and love. See, judge, and act…to be faithful to God’s will.

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