Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time? “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”
Jesus invites us to be truthful and wise in our words and deeds, by utilising the intelligence that God has given to us. It is in this truthfulness that we are called to discern and decide.
«Why do you not know how to interpret the present time? Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?»
Fr. Frederic RÀFOLS i Vidal
Today, Jesus is asking us to look up and watch the skies. This morning, after three days of continuous rain, the sky has appeared clear and radiant, in one of the most splendid days of this Fall. By and by, now that the weathermen are like family members, we become more conversant with weather changes. But, on the other hand, we find many more difficulties to understand the changing times in which we live: “You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” (Lk 12:56). Amongst those listening to Jesus, many let go a unique chance in the history of Mankind. They could not identify the Son of God in Jesus. They didn't know the time, the hour of salvation.
The II Vatican Council, in the Constitution Gaudium et spes (n. 4), updates today's Gospel: “The Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel (…). We must therefore recognize and understand the world in which we live, its explanations, its longings, and its often dramatic characteristics.”
When we are making history, it is not too difficult to point out at the occasions lost by the Church for not having discovered the time in which we were living. But, Lord: what occasions are we perhaps wasting now for not being able to read the signs of the times, or what is tantamount, for not being able to live and throw light upon today's problems with the light shed by the Gospel? Today, Jesus reminds us once more: “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?” (Lk 12:57).
We are not living in a world of wickedness, though there may be plenty of it. But God has not forsaken his world. As St. John of the Cross reminds us, we live in a world which the very God treaded on and made beautiful. Saint Teresa of Calcutta saw the signs of the times, and the times have understood Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Let her invigorate us. Let us keep on looking upwards without losing sight of our earth.