Today marks the 366th day of the Bondings 2.0 blog, which means that tomorrow will be the blog’s first anniversary! (2012 was a leap year, so there were 366 days in it.)
Anniversary times, beginnings and endings, are always good times to reflect and ponder. The mood of this time of the liturgical year prods us to reflections about end times and new beginnings. Last Sunday, we celebrated the feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday in the liturgical year. This week, the scripture readings for Mass are all about the end times. Next Sunday we will begin Advent, a season of joyful expectation.
Today’s Gospel passage, Luke 21: 5-11, offers some items to ponder for those who work and wait for LGBT equality in church and society. If you are involved in such work, you probably often feel like Jesus’ early followers who asked him when the end times were coming and what signs would precede it. Jesus answers them, rather cryptically:
” ‘See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
“I am he,” and ‘The time has come.”
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.’
“Then he said to them,
‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.’ “
Though “end of the world” talk is often scary and doom-ridden, for Christians, we know that the end of the world will usher in God’s reign of justice, the thing for which we most long. What I see as one message Jesus offers us in this passage is that we should not be upset by cataclysms and catastrophes that happen to us as we wait for this reign of justice to be realized.
Jesus notes that there will be things that terrify us, but that we must remember that these are not the end of the story. While we may witness battles and earth-shaking events, we also need to wait to see “awesome sights and mighty signs.”
I’m no prophet, so I can’t interpret what those sights and signs will be. Indeed, I believe they will be different for different people. Anything that reminds us that the struggles we are involved in are not the end of the story is one of those signs.
Our job is to remain courageous (“do not be terrified”) and keep firm in our faith that God will bring about the reign of justice for which we long, and work, and pray.
Stay tuned for Advent, coming next Sunday, when we will enter a period that celebrates our waiting in joyful hope for the Redeemer to enter our world.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry