Sunday, November 15, 2015

Picking up the Pieces

Durer's 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse
 The Word of God fixes our eyes on Christ's final coming “with great power and glory.”  But it would be tragic if that vision or horizon blinded us to the here and now, where we can be the generous hands and compassionate eyes and hopeful voices and dedicated feet of Jesus to the people who touch our lives every day.

The liturgical year celebrates the story of our salvation: the circle of our lives.  The cycle begins in Advent where we await the Messiah; then Christmas, and into Lent where we focus on prayer, fasting or doing without, and charitable works. Next we enter into Holy Week.  We re-experience the outpouring of the Spirit anew at Pentecost.  Throughout ordinary time we walk with Jesus as He proclaims that the kingdom of God is breaking into our lives.  And the liturgical cycle culminates in the final coming of Jesus Christ in glory, on the feast of Christ the King, next Sunday.

Yes, we celebrate the story that began on the first page of Scripture: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” a story that ends on the last page:  “Come, Lord Jesus.”  God will transform this universe into his glorious kingdom, and that is why we proclaim in the Eucharistic Prayer:  “Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.”  The question is: Are we ready to meet the Living Christ when he comes to us in the mystery of death?  

In the Gospel according to Mark, Jesus speaks about an apocalypse, a cosmic upheaval: a darkened sun, an unlit moon, falling stars, all symbolic and scary images.  Jesus Christ will usher in the glorious kingdom of God in all its fullness.  

We shouldn't be frightened.  What we're really called to do is to begin bringing about change as Jesus did in his ministry:  by having our priorities straight—seeking God in our everyday lives; by being peacemakers; by treating one another fairly; by helping people know they have a purpose in life; by giving a helping hand, especially to the neglected, the depressed and the lonely.

The Gospel urges us always to be ready.   

There’s a true story about a violinist who tripped and fell as he went on stage.   He almost went into shock when the priceless Stradivarius he had in his hand broke into several pieces.   But a master craftsman spent hours putting it back together.  And afterwards, the violin seemed to play better than before.

Sometimes our own lives can break into pieces.   But we can pick up the pieces and let Jesus, our Master Craftsman, put our lives back together.  

Good ultimately will triumph.  The Word challenges us to continue to persevere in our life of discipleship with Jesus despite the everyday doubts we may have.  Through his horrible death and glorious resurrection, Jesus re-established our relationship with God.  The Word challenges us to grow in that relationship.

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