Friday, November 13, 2009

We Are God's Children Now.

First Reading
Wisdom 13:1-9

Anyone who does not know God is simply foolish. Such people look at the good things around them and still fail to see the living God. They have studied the things he made, but they have not recognized the one who made them. Instead, they suppose that the gods who rule the world are fire or wind or storm or the circling stars or rushing water or the heavenly bodies. People were so delighted with the beauty of these things that they thought they must be gods, but they should have realized that these things have a master and that he is much greater than all of them, for he is the creator of beauty, and he created them. Since people are amazed at the power of these things, and how they behave, they ought to learn from them that their maker is far more powerful. When we realize how vast and beautiful the creation is, we are learning about the Creator at the same time.

But maybe we are too harsh with these people. After all, they may have really wanted to find God, but couldn't. Surrounded by God's works, they keep on looking at them, until they are finally convinced that because the things they see are so beautiful, they must be gods. But still, these people really have no excuse. If they had enough intelligence to speculate about the nature of the universe, why did they never find the Lord of all things?


Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 19

R. 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. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

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. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.


Luke 17:26-37

Jesus said to his disciples: As it was in the time of Noah so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man. Everybody kept on eating and drinking, and men and women married, up to the very day Noah went into the boat and the flood came and killed them all. It will be as it was in the time of Lot. Everybody kept on eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. On the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and killed them all. That is how it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.

On that day someone who is on the roof of a house must not go down into the house to get any belongings; in the same way anyone who is out in the field must not go back to the house. Remember Lot's wife! Those who try to save their own life will lose it; those who lose their life will save it. On that night, I tell you, there will be two people sleeping in the same bed: one will be taken away; the other will be left behind. Two women will be grinding meal together: one will be taken away; the other will be left behind.

The disciples asked him, Where, Lord? Jesus answered, “Wherever there is a dead body, the vultures will gather.”

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This passage of Luke’s gospel is rather obscure. It’s not easy to know what Jesus is saying, except that no one knows when “the day the Son of Man is revealed” will come. The imagery is drawn from Old Testament prophecy; all of the cosmic convulsions are there, as they are in the prophetical books, and in the books of Wisdom. “That day” seems to be a reference to that day when He will come in glory to judge the living and the dead.

The emphasis here is on the suddenness and the newness of it all. The normal routing of “eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building” will be disrupted. It will even make your most familiar companions look like strangers. When there is a cataclysm of some kind, people remember vividly what they were doing just as it struck. Those normal routines are seen now from a different perspective: from high in the air, as it were, rather than from the familiar ground.

Though we are largely at a loss when it comes to understanding this passage, its urgency is good for us, no doubt. Perhaps we become too complacent, too detached, too ‘knowing’. The impact of the 19th century Danish philosopher Kierkegaard’s writing in his own world was explosive: he castigated his age as “an age without passion, with no values, an age that reduces everything to ideas.” It was said of Karl Barth, the 20th century Protestant theologian, that his impact on his contemporaries was “like a bomb exploding in their back garden.” He stressed the "total otherness of God.” We make God a kind of private ineffectual daydream or a monthly or annual liability like rent or tax. We make God “part of our life”, even though God cannot be part of anything; God can only be whole. We are God's children now; our lives should radiate his life within us.

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