Are You Ready For The Lord’s Coming?
The author of Wisdom accuses non-Jews of being blind. They see the beauty of creation, but they fail to recognize the creator behind them, so much so, that they begin to adore created things.
Jesus reprimands those who fail to see the signs of his coming in judgment. His coming is not an exceptional event, for Jesus blames the people for their careless lack of vigilance in daily life. He keeps coming, and this is why people have to be ready always.
1 Reading: Wisdom 13:1-9
Humans were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God, and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is, and from studying the works did not discern the artisan; But either fire, or wind, or the swift air, or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water, or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered gods. Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods, let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these; for the original source of beauty fashioned them. Or if they were struck by their might and energy, let them from these things realize how much more powerful is he who made them. For from the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen. But yet, for these the blame is less; For they indeed have gone astray perhaps, though they seek God and wish to find him. For they search busily among his works, but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair. But again, not even these are pardonable. For if they so far succeeded in knowledge that they could speculate about the world, how did they not more quickly find its Lord?
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 19:2-3, 4-5ab
R.(2a) The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day,
and night to night imparts knowledge. R.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message. R.
Alleluia: Luke 21:28
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Luke 17:26-37
Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all. So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, someone who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise one in the field must not return to what was left behind. Remember the wife of Lot. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left.” They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.”
The author of Wisdom lived in a highly intellectual and philosophical milieu. Alexandria in Egypt was the Athens of the East. Philosophers then, like scientists today, studied the natural world around them. In today’s reading, the author of Wisdom argues that God is responsible for the material universe and all the wonders of nature. The power and beauty of the cosmos point to the God who is their Creator. But in their fascination with the visible realities of creation, humans have been distracted from discerning more about the One who is responsible for bringing the natural world into being. It is in this Creator God that we should seek ultimate truth.
The Pharisees in today’s Gospel raise questions about the final days: How will the advent of those days be known? Christ’s answer is that it will be sudden and unexpected, much like the days of the destruction in the time of Noah and the time of Sodom. But when those days come, one will either be prepared to meet them or not.
Most Christians today do not spend much time on questions of the “end of days” because they don’t imagine they will be here to see them. There are some evangelical Christians who argue strongly that the final days are upon us. Some would argue that Palestine in its entirety must be returned to the Jews. For only when the land is theirs will the Lord return and the end of the world be here.
All of us have experienced at some point the fragility of our being. Tragic accidents, the wanton taking of life, the death of a young person. These are reminders of our real destiny and an encouragement to live each day as if it were our last. To contemplate beauty in the light of God himself, to see power in the light of the deity, the world about us as an expression of his goodness. “The heavens are telling the glory of God,” says the psalmist, and we must be alert to that voice.
Keep hoping, for there is a future. Christ is with you, and with him you can do away with violence and wars, you can defeat enmity with friendship. Keep your heads high, for the Lord Jesus is among us and with him there is hope and a future. Go with him, with the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!