Peace and Grace to you!
As we near the end of the Liturgical year, the Scripture readings always reflect a cosmic chaos. As we listen to them and think about the imagery, we can feel powerless and helpless as the world seems to be spinning out of control. Watching headlines in the news and world events can bring a similar experience because it seems like everything Jesus is referring to is happening! Think of it: there have been record numbers of shootings in the US this year, every 24 hrs one military veteran takes their own life.
The US/Mexico border is a disaster zone with hundreds of bodies along the trails used by traffickers and coyotes. The Darien Gap estimates a 15% mortality rate and if you’re a woman, no matter what age, you’re guaranteed to be raped. The refugee camps and war-torn areas and places of natural disaster where struggles for clean water, food, medical supplies abound. Earthquakes and storms result in need of rebuilding sewer, water, gas and electric supply lines and restoring stable communications. There are more refugees in the world today than ever before and many countries in Europe are struggling with floods of people fleeing from the ravages of industrialized hatred and extremism. None of us have ever seen anything like this before and it’s at a higher level almost daily. To us who live in the Western World, it doesn’t seem that there will ever be a just and stable government established in the Middle East and the chaos is spilling over into relatively peaceful countries. Even the US political sphere is filled with agenda laden bickering and lies while just accountability doesn’t seem to exist and issues go on unresolved. The whole world seems out of control and is careening toward unprecedented destruction.
There are those who would like to have us all believe that these are definite signs that Jesus is about to return but no one knows the day or the hour. It would be easy to get caught up in that kind of fear if you didn’t have faith and a prayer life. Fear can distort our outlook on the world, it can become like a prison that disables us from freedom to act with love. Fear can prevent us from focusing on what’s really important: a daily life filled with light, love and meaning. As Christian believers, our focus and efforts are always the same: God is actively protecting us from destruction! For our part, we strive to bring the Good News into the world. We remember the words from Psalm 23: “even though I walk through the dark valley, I fear no evil, for you are at my side.” When we lead lives steeped in the Gospel, we are reminded of the original chaos and how God’s Word always brings things to order and harmony. As we embrace it and put it into practice, we experience God’s presence and protection and we look forward to his second coming with hope and peace. One helpful reminder of God’s presence and action in the world is to Google “Medical Miracles” and be amazed at all the miracles going on around us! The blind see, the deaf hear, the dead rise to new life, the lame walk. God is always present and working in our midst! We just have to look! If we focus on Jesus and trust him, we can avoid sinking into fear filled living. In living each day in faith, we can be confident that we will be ready whenever he comes, because he is already here!
May God bless you with peace and good health! +++ Fr Peter