Saturday, November 16, 2013

Twas the best of times, it was the worst of times...

In Dicken's "A Tale of Two Cities" one could live with great joy and comfort one moment, and another moment feel the cold blade of the guillotine on the neck; not too good of a time.

Each November as we draw to a close our current liturgical year, the Gospels speak of the end times.  To be more clear, Jesus speaks of the end times.  Something we rather pass off casually or scrupulously.   But again make no mistake, Jesus does teach about them as part of his ministry and we too are called to know and respect them.  Not out of fear with every waking moment, with every storm or earthquake or any act of violence or abuse that we witness, nor with a kind of “that’s just a myth that we need not even think about”, but as a supporting strand woven into our entire deposit of faith.  Even today many are saying we are living in the end times; (however I think a lot of that is due to one’s personal politic too). But for the Christian the end times are a time to anticipate with joy!  And we can prepare for them by living the central prayer of our faith, the Lord’s Prayer each and every day! 

I know I have mentioned this countless times but the message of the Lord’s prayer is the gospel message and it does NOT change. We pray for the coming of the Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. So we can complain that the world is going to “hell in a hand basket" or we can just commit to creating a better world. Friends, this is not the only time folks have been challenged.  Think about the plagues that almost wiped out Western Europe?  Even earlier early humans who perished in the ice age?   There have been some cataclysmic events in this world that continues to “grow in creation” as St. Paul says in Romans 8:22 “We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now”…  And as in our history people have confronted each event with a positive response; good usually triumphs especially when animated by people of good will….something else we are called to be. Remember that other prayer from our Sacred Liturgy  (mass), the “Gloria” and "peace to people of good-will” Authentic prayer leads to action. Just yesterday Pope Francis said “the prayer of a humble person is the weakness of God. The Lord is weak only in this one sense: He is weak before the prayers of His people.”

Next week we celebrate the feast of Christ the King.  We share in the baptismal charism of being part of His “royal priesthood”, to rule in humble service. This coming Advent I will be asking us to focus on being “Bread for the world”  by being of more service to our neighbor.  What a great way to lead up to Christmas, when it is Christ that we are called to honor as he was born humbly to serve all of humankind humbly. If our prayer life is genuine, we can more readily live our royal priesthood.  God will provide us through our prayer the means to live out our shared priesthood.

Back to the end times… I implied earlier for the Christian they are the best of times!  I propose that we all anticipate the end times by contributing to the joy of them here and now. Providing more of the "best" to those who are experiencing the "worst".  By living the words of the Lord’s prayer “on earth as it is in heaven” so that our times are truly “the best”!!!