The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 14 November 2010

We often hear people speaking about the pace of life being very fast.  Older people will often comment on how things were simpler in their day.  If you try to think back over what you did during the past week (not to mention the past month or year) it will probably be difficult to remember everything.  Part of the reason for this is that our modern world is always "becoming".  Advertising and 24 hour news create the impression that we are living in a state of constant newness.  This has the disadvantage of making us miss out on much that surounds us and can frequently mean that we have difficulty finding time for reflection.  It was probably easier to find time for reflection in an older world before the advent of 24 hour media, iPods and mobile phones.

I am not suggesting that we should in some way turn back the clock.  Apart from the fact that this would simply not be possible it is doubtful that turning back the clock to a previous age would change anything much.  We are who we are and we are coloured by the society and culture which has formed us and informed us.

Nonetheless, we should not just accept everything we are given.  Time for reflection will always be helpful to us - in fact, it is possibly true to say that time for reflection is extremely necessary for us in an increasingly stressful age.

Today's passage from Luke's gospel is a good example of this.  One of the consequences of the fact that our modern world is always "becoming" is that it is hard to think of it ever ending.  We are always in the middle of any number of things.  And yet, it is a central tenet of our faith that our world will end; that we ourselves will die; that nothing is ever permanent.

This passage from the gospel passage gives us a warning not to ignore this stark reality and the central issue is to be ready.

I remember once, when I was working on our mission in Ecuador, there was an announcement that Jesus was going to arrive to a place called San Clemente.  It seems almost funny now but there was panic.  All over the country were going to confession.  People were trying to get married in a hurry (most people from that part of Ecuador prefer to just live together).  Others were apologising to people they had offended.

As it happens, this particular "Jesus" turned out to be a Colombian con-man who had no visa and was arrested by the police - panic over.

The point is that a huge number of people suddenly realised that they weren't ready to meet Jesus.  In a rather naive way they set about putting their house in order albeit in a rather simplistic way.  None of us can change the attitudes of a lifetime by simply changing the appearance of our life.  Being ready is about living now the values of the kingdom - not about trying to fool God.

The attitude that says "Jesus is coming.  Look busy!!!" is at best childish.  We believe that God is all-knowing so we can hardly expect to carry off some kind of a trick.

Being ready means being a Christian and not with the relaxed attitude we so often have.  Being ready means being Christian with the urgency of something that has to be done by yesterday.

It's a tall order and very uncompromising and must make many people very uncomfortable - but then they did kill Jesus, didn't they.


Article posted on 13th of November 2010

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