Nov 14, 2018
Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ,
Today’s Gospel is often used to predict that which cannot be known. Jesus clearly states that even He does not know the day, nor the hour, only The Father knows. But still people try to decipher clues, signs and portents. From Ancient Aztec calendars to crazy men walking the streets of New York with sandwich-board signs proclaiming “The End is Near!” It has always perplexed me when Christians get all caught up in trying to predict the end because of some war or famine, when, as I said, Jesus tells us it is NOT for us to know. Besides, even if you did know, what are you going to do about it... move?
Rather than getting us fixated on figuring out the “when,” I believe this passage, and others like it, are cautions for us that we must stay alert and live our faith each and every day as if it might be our last. And not only each of us, as individuals, but The Church at large. The community of disciples, which is The Church, has been missioned by Christ to build the kingdom of God, and this work must be done with great fervor.
While each of us, who have been baptized, are to live our lives worthy of the title “Child of God,” each of us is a member of a community. This is why it is such an absurd contradiction to say, as so many are saying today, “I am spiritual but not religious.” Faith is not something someone can practice in a bubble. While it is true that we each need to develop our personal relationship with Christ, we also have an obligation to the larger community. The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. You cannot do that and at the same time keep all your neighbors at arm’s length. You must interact with others. Share your faith with others. The journey we are on is a group pilgrimage. Yahweh did not make a Covenant with individuals, God entered into the Covenant with a people, a community. We all need someone at some time or another to lean on, to help us through a crisis, to steer us in the right direction. And others need us for the same reasons.
Jesus warns us that our faith is not something that we keep in the closet and only take it out on Sundays. Nor is it something that we do all by ourselves. Our faith is not a coat, it is more like our skin, we cannot, should not, go anywhere without it. As we live our lives our faith should become more and more a part of us, a reflection of who we are. When we look in the mirror our faith, our identity as a child of God and a disciple of Jesus Christ should be staring back at us. And that is who should walk out our door each and every day, ready to face the world and anything that might come our way. For we know, come what may, we are never alone.
In the Redeemer,
P.S. My deep thanks to all those who labored so hard to make our Card Party a huge success. I want to thank all those who worked in planning, executing, and clean-up. I also want to thank all of those who stepped-up and sold tickets and ads, all who made a donation of any kind, and all those in attendance. It was a wonderful day, even if I was a bit under the weather. I also want to thank my Redemptorist confreres and all their support of this event, especially Fr. Tom (this was his first Card Party) and, of course, Fr. Dave, whose tireless effort brings in at least a third of the entire profits. God bless you all!