Saint for the day: Catherine of Alexandria (d. c. 310)
Revelation 20:1-4,11-21:2 – Psalm 84 – Luke 2:29-33
“Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Today’s ‘Alleluia Verse’ before the Holy Gospel)
Today’s first reading from the Book of Revelation is almost frantic as we move closer to the end of the church year. But, true to form, we are always given a second chance to “get it right.” This is one of the joys of the Catholic Church: we are always given a second chance. Sometimes we get it right on the first pass but most often we have to “go back to go” and start again. My favorite quote, Oh, Lord, why is it that every time I take two steps forward I fall back three. .. but I usually get there anyway because most of the time I was headed in the wrong direction!”
Then, when we hear today’s Holy Gospel we are told about fig trees coming to bloom as a sign that the end is near. However, I’ve probably heard this same Gospel more times than I can remember and I’m 75 + years old and still here on this poor earth! How can we find some meaning and a point to these scripture passages that give us hope that we’re on the right path and doing the best we can? I think that the “frantic tone” of these last few days of the Church year are meant to give us hope. The image of the fig trees in bloom is a seasonal occurrence that is meant to give us hope. Hope that, if we don’t get it right this time around, we’ll get another change next year!. I think, that hearing these scripture readings just the day after our US celebration of Thanksgiving is a good thing. Here at St. Dominic’s we gathered in an overflowing church to take some special time to thank our God for all the blessings that have been given to us. In a couple of days, we’ll move into the Advent Season – a time when we go back and start all over. Again! And that’s exactly the point of our entire Christian walk; If I don’t get it right this time maybe I’ll do better next year! But the overriding point is the fact that we are given many more chances to get it right. That’s the beauty of our Church Year that has a built-in system for us to always have the chance to do it right this time. Will I have to go through all this again, next year? Yes! And maybe one of these times around I’ll get it right!
I’ll repeat that quote from the top of today’s reflection so that you can find some hope in these days of Advent., Oh, Lord, why is it that every time I take two steps forward I fall back three. .. but I usually get there anyway because most of the time I was headed in the wrong direction!” Amen!