The Gospel of the Day – 2016.11.27
The Son of Man
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘As it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of Man comes. For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept all away. It will be like this when the Son of Man comes. Then of two men in the fields one is taken, one left; of two women at the millstone grinding, one is taken, one left.
‘So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’
The Unexpected Hour
The future history of the world has not been written.
Any suppositions about our future on earth is a guess. Some guesses are more informed than others, we can speak in terms of possibility and probability, but we cannot know anything about the days and nights to come.
There are thousands of ways in which the plans we have laid, or the hopes which we cherish can come undone; lightening will strike, a tornado will blow, a meteor will fall, a volcano explode. A person in the fullness of their life may trip, and fall, hit their head and die, leaving everything behind them without warning.
The promises we have received from God, they are not of this world. God has promised to bring an end to suffering, injustice, hunger, illness. We can believe in this promise, but those promises are not of this world. They are the promises of the next world, a world in which human beings are not subjected to the vicissitudes of the material condition, or the hungers of the flesh.
I cannot speak of that world. I have never seen it. No one living has. Our belief in a loving God, our hope in the words of the prophets, our trust in the Gospel, these allow us to believe that the better world is real. Anyone who pretends to know for certain, they are over stating their case, or lying outright.
What we have been taught is this, we can live out our present lives as if the reality of those promises were real. That is the secret of the Christian way. If we are just, and loving, and caring for one another, well then, we do not have to wait for the end of time. In those moments, God is with us. God is always with us, but in those moments we are working with God to bring about that other world. If we trust in the reality of the things we hope for, we make it easy to live our lives as if it were true. To the extent that fulfill the promise in our own lives, the presence of God is engendered among us. It is like inviting Jesus to have a seat at the table, he will have come. That is not the end, but a beginning.
1st Sunday of Advent