Jesus said to his disciples, «As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be on the day the Son of Man comes. Then people ate and drank; they took husbands and wives. But on the day Noah entered the ark, the flood came and destroyed them all. Just as it was in the days of Lot: people ate and drank, they bought and sold, planted and built. But on the day Lot left Sodom, God made fire and sulfur rain down from heaven which destroyed them all. So will it be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.
»On that day, if you are on the rooftop, don't go down into the house to get your belongings, and if you happen to be in the fields, do not turn back. Remember Lot's wife. Whoever tries to save his life will lose himself, but whoever gives his life will be born again. I tell you, though two men are sharing the same bed, it may be that one will be taken and the other left. Though two women are grinding corn together, one may be taken and the other left». Then they asked Jesus, «Where will this take place, Lord?». And he answered, «Where the body is, there too will the vultures gather».
The days of Noah give us two different stories. One is of the faithful, who listened to the Lord and obeyed and the other, ignored all the warnings given by God. Wisdom helps us to discover already on earth the Author of creation and invite us to listen to Him. Science explains to us little by little the palpable and visible elements. Faith accompanies us in this search, the ideal path which will lead us to the truth. Since man has discovered certain elements on earth that were inaccessible to the world, he has the impression that he can master everything.
Jesus helps us to understand our limitations and invites us to accept them in humility. We can never master the beginning or the end. We must be attentive, be prepared and put the rest in the hand of the Lord.
Since we do not know the day of the Lord, we must be ready for every moment of life. Let every moment of the day, every encounter, be a new beginning and let us learn to welcome it with gratitude. At the end of the day, let us put all the elements of the day, lived and received, given and accepted, into the hand of the Lord, praying, Lord, I surrender to You, and that You will take me in grace and bless me. If we manage to do this, there will be no surprises in life.
Action of the day: Be watchful.
«People ate and drank, they bought and sold, planted and built »
Fr. Austin NORRIS
Today, in the Gospel text, the end times as well as the uncertainty of life is highlighted, not to frighten us, but to keep us fore-armed and focused, ready to meet our Creator. The sacrificial nature of the Gospel is seen in its Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as he leads us by example, to be ever ready to seek and do the Will of God. Constant vigilance and preparedness is the hallmark of the ardent disciple. We cannot just be like people who «ate and drank, they bought and sold, planted and built…» (Lk 17:28). We disciples must be ready and watchful, lest we be lulled into spiritual lethargy by the progress of life from one generation to the next and assume that Jesus won't return after all.
Secularism has taken strong roots in our society. The onslaught of innovation and ready availability of personal goods and services makes us feel self-sufficient and devoid of God’s presence in our lives. It is only when tragedy strikes that we are awakened from our slumber to look at God amidst our “vale of tears...”. And we must be thankful for these tragic moments, because they surely must serve to strengthen our faith.
In the recent months, the attacks on Christian in several parts of the world (including my very own country India), may have shaken our faith. But the Holy Father Francis says: «Christians are ultimately hopeful, however, because at the end, Jesus makes a promise that is a guarantee of victory: ‘Whoever gives his life will be born again’ (Lk 17:33)». This is a truth that we can rely on… The powerful witness of our brothers and sisters who lay down their lives for the faith and the witness to Christ shall not be in vain.
And so we labour onwards in the journey of our lives in the sincere hope of meeting our God «on the day the Son of Man is revealed» (Lk 17:30).