Nov 16, 2019
Mind the Gap
33rd. Sunday. Luke 21:5-19. -
Unlike summer, when we begin our cruise towards the winter, our physical activities typically begin to slow down but not our minds. As the nights become longer many of us try to take comfort during the extended evening hours by browsing the internet, following sports or watching movies or late night shopping as if there is no tomorrow. And you never know, maybe there won’t be! When our lives are lived in darkness, it’s often difficult to look forward with hope. When we look out at the world and see nothing but bad news, conflicts, fighting and angry words, it’s difficult to see beyond it all to look forward to Good News.
Consider the Gospel we have just heard. For the Jewish people during the time of Jesus, the temple of Jerusalem, was to them what might be to us here this beautiful church, or what the whole church has seen throughout the centuries in the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. We have also in our national popular imagination the iconic Capitol buildings, the White House, the Washington monument. The British have Big Ben, the French, the Eiffel Tower. End of the world scenarios depicted in futuristic books and movies can have us imagine them being blown up, destroyed, crumbling into masses of rubble. We often react with morbid fascination of such a storyline from the comfort of our armchair.
But what if it did happen? Would our world crumble around us and all hope for the future vanish? When something or someone around whom our lives have revolved disappears from our view or is obscured by fighting, destruction or even death, darkness seems to triumph. “Give us this day our daily bread” we are taught to pray. But our survival instincts can often turn us into scavengers competing with each other, picking apart the leftovers. Our need for God becomes as great as the feeling of God’s absence.
We are very well practiced preaching about the God of the oppressed. We do not seem to be well versed in preaching about the God of the depressed. It’s that dark valley that all of us, at some point in our lives find ourselves forced to travel into, especially when trying to cope with the pain of something or someone we love and live for being taken away or no longer recognizable.
Our Lord tells us that we will inevitably experience this dark moment in our own lives, our family lives, even in the life of the church. What does he say to us? His answer is simple, difficult because it often goes against our natural instincts, but is it nevertheless simple, “By your perseverance you will secure your lives”.
Is that it, just hang in there? Yes, but as Christians we do so with a “secret” knowledge. As dark and as painful as the destruction and toppling of the shaffolds that often keep our lives manageable, there will be, at the right time, a resurrection and restoration. This is not just our Christian faith. It is the hallmark of Christian hope, not founded on the belief that things can only get better. It is founded on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the new Samson who stands ready to topple all our man made temples, shelters and securities. So, make sure the world comes crashing down around you, and not upon you. Christ needs us to help him build a new world and from it, as the first reading reminded us, “there will arise the sun of justice and its healing rays”.
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