The other day, one of our Associates and I were discussing the environment for Advent and Christmas and our Christmas order for flowers! A “job hazard” for the liturgist is always living in the future – always planning for the next liturgical season. For others it may be hoping to buy some new gadget, receiving a promotion, achieving some accomplishment and on and on. At the same time too much “future living” can be dangerous because we can miss all the goodness that is already at hand, right before our eyes.
As we near the end of this liturgical season of Ordinary Time, we always hear Gospels about the end times that call for us to look into the future. These Gospels paint a dark and dreary picture of calamity and doom and we often dismiss them. The imagery in our Gospel today is no exception. We are tempted to ask, “When, Lord?” When Jesus answers, “No one knows”, this is our call to pay attention to the present. Now is the time for the in-breaking of Christ. Now is what counts.
There is inevitable darkness in our lives. Jesus teaches us to find in this darkness, his in in-breaking presence here and now. We can come to hope in Jesus’ abiding presence through very human ways. Often, when we face difficulties, it is others who come to us with a word of comfort or insight, helping us to see more clearly, giving us strength to make changes in our lives through their presence and compassion.
We don’t find Jesus in the clouds but here on earth; we don’t await victory over darkness only at the end of time, but here and now. Jesus has given us all we need. We need to live like he did, with compassion and understanding, wisdom and care, love and hope. The future holds no fear for us.