Reflection by Aidan Troy, C.P.
The end of the Church’s Year is near. Next Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King and on the following Sunday we will be into Advent. The Readings of our Mass today come across as frightening and could lead us to wonder about the end of the World. This is not the intention of the writers of the Scriptures, but more like firing a flare into the air to alert us to dangers that are around us and to help us be ready for what is to come.
When Pope Francis gave to the Church and the World his views ‘On Care for our Common Home’, “Laudato Si”, there were some raised eyebrows. Some wondered if a Pope should keep to religious themes rather than dealing with the environment. Seeing that Francis was just over two years as Pope, some suggested that there were more important topics to bring to the attention of Catholics faced by so many issues and challenges today.
A prophet, in a Biblical sense, is one who listens to God and reads the signs of the times in the light of what the Spirit of God, who then urges the person to speak. A prophet is one who believes that, ‘I myself (God) will shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict.’ [Today’s Gospel] For what it is worth, I believe that Pope Francis is a modern-day prophet. Not everyone agrees with him and that is healthy in the search for Truth and the Way to Life. That is who Jesus is in His own words – [John 14:6]
What Pope Francis in ‘Laudato Si’ is giving us is an alert as to what we are doing and not doing to the beautiful world which is God’s gift us all people of every age. He has done this in a most effective way. It is interesting that political parties in seeking votes for election, have the Environment high on their list of priorities.
We believe that it is up to God to come a second time to mark the end of the world. Only God knows when this will be; happen it will, and our major concern is not to be when will this happen, but will I be ready?
Some people are intrigued about future events that could happen. They consult fortune tellers, read cards and consult the stars. St Luke in the Gospel at Mass brings us back to the here and now. Even though there is much that is happening in our world that seems that the end is near, we should not seek to escape from the present. It always worth remembering that the end of a world is not the end of the world. What matters is to stand firm trusting in Jesus. We will not be deceived.
Saint Paul today reminds the people that he worked for everything he got. He did not want to ‘sponge’ from others or ever be a burden to them. In the early Church there was an opinion among believers that the return of Christ was so close that there was not much point in working or making any plans for a future. Paul laid down a principle, “not to let anyone have any food if they refused to do any work”. I can only thank you for making sure that I am fed!
The Chosen People loved and revered the Temple. It must have been beautiful to behold, “adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings.” Sadly, Jesus told that, “not a single stone will be left on another; everything will be destroyed.” The shock must have been something like standing last April and watching Notre Dame Cathedral burn to almost total destruction.
Sometimes I become preoccupied about how I am, how things look, what will happen in the future; all understandable and normal. In moments of inspiration by the Spirit, I see the present as not the final stop but a beginning of a life that will never end. The only appearance then will be the beauty and glory of God. He is All.
The recently canonised John Henry Newman wrote in a sermon for this time of year – “Be not afraid. He is most gracious and will bring you on by little and little. He does not show you whither he is leading you; you might be frightened did you see the whole prospect at once. Sufficient for the day is its own evil. Follow his plan.” [Parochial and Plain Sermons, 1,26]