Saturday, December 01, 2012

Give Them Light

Give Them Light

December 1, 2012
Saturday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.  They will look upon his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever and ever.  Revelation 22:4-5
"Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.  For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.  Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man."  Luke 21:34-36


Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
(Robert Burns, 1759-1796)


Hope and fear all contained in two simple readings. 
Our first reading today is really the last reading of the Bible.  Revelation 22 is the last chapter of the last book.  Appropriate for the last Mass of the last day of the liturgical cycle.  The promise of Jesus coming soon is at the heart of the beginning, middle and end of this chapter, of the entire Bible and of all liturgical and salvation history. 
Today's selection brings us a word loaded with meaning -- imminent.  The approach of something that is "imminent" functions on two planes of the proverbial space-time continuum.  If you are at the airport and someone's flight is arriving on time, your reunion with that person is imminent.  It will occur at any moment.  
If you are an escaped felon and the sheriff has surrounded your hideout -- like in that last scene from "Cool Hand Luke" with Paul Newman holed up in a church -- your arrest is imminent. 
Our ancient Cool Hand St. Luke might have been thinking short-term when he wrote that the return of Jesus was going to happen soon.  They had just separated from Him on Good Friday and then he returned just a scant three days later.  Following the Ascension, St. Luke and the early Christian community must have been thinking Jesus' promised return would occur soon -- within their life and times. 
The end of the world and the Reunion was not to be like that. Thus, we have the second sense of the word "imminent."  The projection of something in the future.  This sense is more like something that is hanging "out there" in some unknown future.


This future tension is what we live every day.  But the end of time is not some threat -- it is the promise of Revelation and salvation history and the life He lived and died for us.  Unless we come to appreciate the real presence of the Lord in the gift of the present and prescient moment, we will likely continue to think in terms of the threat of the end.
He gives us light every day.  We don't have to wait for it.  We have to recognize it. We have to accept it. 
Yes.  Jesus will come again.  Yes. Are you ready to find him around the next corner…in the next room…in the person-hood of the next person you will meet? Yes?  Yes!
Greet the light of the new liturgical year.  The sun will rise tomorrow at 7:10 (at least it will where I live -- check local listings for the latitude and longitude of your residence). 
Greet the Son and the promise of a new Liturgical Year!

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