November 23, 2016 – Wednesday in the last week of the Church Year.
Saint for the day: Blessed Miguel Pro (1891 – 1927)
Revelation 15:1-4 – Psalm 98 – Luke 21:12-19
“Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. (today’s “Alleluia” verse before the Holy Gospel)
In late 1970’s Brother Gregory Lira and I were asked to fly back east to assist some cloistered nuns who were moving to the west coast. The final leg of our journey was a short flight from the Twin Cities to Winona, Minnesota. It was a rainy day and I remember thinking, “How do these pilots know where they’re going?” As it turned out, they didn’t, and in being diverted to La Cross, Wisconsin, the plane crashed on an attempted landing!
When it was all over and we returned to the West Coast after a month in the hospital I remember being asked, “Did your entire life flash before your eyes as you were going down?” My answer was, “No!” but then I wasn’t going to die. I had, however received a serious concussion that affected my ability to speak and I was unconscious for four days. I was amazed when one of the rescue workers came to the hospital to see how the two of us were doing and said, “I just wanted to see the two of you because while we were trying to free you from the crushed seats you were both going on and on about how it wasn’t as bad as it looked and encouraging each other.” Even though we were unaware, something inside us kept us going.
Today’s Gospel tells us not to worry about what we are to say. The Holy Spirit who dwells within will give you all the help you need when “push comes to shove.” But this doesn’t come out of nowhere. It comes out of our everyday following of Jesus. My life didn’t flash before me … but, then, I wasn’t going to die! We can’t be like the person who says, “Sooner or later I’m going to take my faith seriously” and expect God to be there when they are in serious need. Martyrs don’t become martyrs when the sword is about to come down upon them. The ability to honestly become a martyr begins when we take our faith and belief in Jesus – and these words we just read – to heart.
Even though most of us will not be put to a martyrs test, we still have to trust that no mater what happens to us or now matter how we come to that ending moment the result will depend on how we are living our faith in the here and now. This is the only moment of salvation. Who knows what will happen before I come to put a period on these words. Remember, the phrase, “Fear not” or “Have no fear” appears 366 times in the bible. That’s one for each day of the year including leap Year! Do you believe this? I hope so. Amen!