Thursday, 34th Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus tells his disciples to stand erect to meet the last day – for it will be the fulfillment of his promise.
The promise is this: the kingdom of God will be realized in Christ, who will redeem his people from every form of slavery. This promise reveals God’s vision of hope… a vision of his kingdom… where truth, justice, peace, freedom, and love reign. Stop for a minute… and think about that promise… reflect on it…
What does this promise of God mean to us now? What does it mean in the midst of a busy, hectic, crazy life? A life overwhelmed with confusing ideas, conflicting interests, and distorted values? A life where we hardly experience or enjoy a fear-free, trouble-free, and stress-free day? What does this promise about the future mean when we are caught up in trying to do all we can do right here and now in the present? When we are struggling to live one day at a time? When we are trying to be all things to many people? What does this promise mean when we watch or read the news discover that senseless horrors continue throughout the world? That crime, starvation, violence, terrorism, war, earthquakes, super-typhoons, hurricanes, floods, and other calamities abound and seem to be increasing?
To me it means that we should “stand erect” and “raise your heads because your redemption is at hand” – as Jesus tells us. We should “be vigilant at all times and pray.” Pray that we may not lose heart and hold on to that promise. Pray that we may be able to escape the time of tribulations. Pray that we may be able to stand ready before the Son of Man when he comes.
Today’s gospel challenges us to live each day in expectation of the second coming of Jesus. At Mass, we acclaim the mystery of our faith by saying: “We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.” By focusing on the Lord’s coming again we gain the strength to spend each day in anticipation of this last day. St. Paul, in his Letter to the Romans, tells us, “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”