Saint for the day: Columban (543-615)
Revelation 22:1-7 – Psalm 93 – Luke 21:34-36
The reality of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem had already occurred before the Gospel of Luke was written down. The early Church had been accustomed to see the death of Jesus, followed by the resurrection, ascension and coming of the Holy Spirit as a “one, two, three, four occupancy and had begun to wonder when the Lord was going to return in glory. The answer to that is: “It’s NOW and not yet!” We have to dwell on the words of Jesus when he tells us, “Don’t get caught up in trying to figure out the day and time of the Lord’s return … the Kingdom of God is within – or among you.” (excuse my loose translation!)
What does that mean? I think it means that we don’t just stand around looking at the empty tomb but we are told to get out on the way! It shouldn’t be a surprise to us that most of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels happened while Jesus was on the way… Temples and Churches are an important part of our belief systems but we have to remember that all these earthly constructions will one day fall apart. What remains are the people – the living stones – who have to see “church” as being on the way.
Tomorrow, we begin our Advent Journey. Four weeks of making our way to Bethlehem – “The House of Bread” to find the Messiah. We’ll repeat the history of our salvation (again the “journey theme”) from the Old Testament readings right up to those long lists of “begets” with names that are hard to pronounce. Again, the living stones that are our past, our present and our future.
In a few weeks we’ll set up a manger scenes and decorate the church with evergreens (a reminder of the now and ever-growing Church.) We’ll sing sweet “Silent Nights” and “Glories to God in the Highest” while at the same time being reminded that this little baby, Jesus – with his arms stretched out in welcome – is the same Jesus who will stretch out his arms on the Cross! Christmas and Easter are closely bound together. We can’t have one without the other!
So, let us use these coming four weeks to enter more deeply into the mystery of our salvation and hear the Lord calling us to “Follow me …” and really seek to try to understand what that means for each of us. Amen