and we Christian also add onto it the belief that Jesus returns, and for some reason we fear this.
It does mean what I just described, but…it also refers to any time when our lives are changed. It can also mean when our whole view of the world is altered, so that our old way of living ends, and we embark on a new way of living. This helps us to see what Jesus is communicating to us through this gospel passage.
That He, the Son of God, the Son of Man, brings to us a new way of life. It is a way of life that will bring to us the freedom, true freedom, so that we can create good in this world. It is a way of life that will bring about peace among people because it is a way of life in which we are called to serve others. It is a way of life in which all that we do, including the normal and mundane, is transformed into works for the Father.
Sounds great, right!?
The “trick” for us is to be awake, aware, alert to those moments of apocalypse. Moments in which we have the choice to act like Catholics and believers of Jesus Christ, or to not act like believers.
“Trick” because it is too easy for us to become distracted in life; to put our focus on other activities.
The people in Noah’s time were not doing anything bad per se in eating, drinking, and marrying, it is just that they failed to notice the rain coming down and down and down. The two men are doing their normal work in the field, and one gets it. Two women doing their normal work, and one gets it. Their work is transformed. No longer does it become merely a means to survive, but it becomes a means of participating in the work of Christ, in transforming the world!
We all know this as well. We can get so distracted from the right way to live. Look at all those reports from Black Friday…shoppers hurting each other!!! I don’t think that is Christian Shopping at its best. Of course, none of us acted in that way…right???? We have all been taught the Christian way of life…somewhere in our heads is the education.
This is not good enough. It must become real and realized. It must be placed into our lives. This takes reflection and prayer; it takes trust. Because letting go of former ways of life and being moved into a new way of life is scary. Let’s face it, none of us really like to change. Even if our lives are chaotic, disastrous, harmful…only with great reluctance do we let go.
I can attest to that in my own life.
Several years ago, I finally began to deal with my depression. I living my life thinking that it was the right thing to do…until it all came collapsing down. So talking with my counselor and my spiritual directors, they forced me to see that what I perceived as “Correct” was in fact harming me. And God, who is always wonderful, also opened my eyes and heart; I finally began to understand Jesus and his teachings with a whole new insight. I finally began to see the elegance of what Jesus said and did; I began to see the power in what he taught. I began to see what life was really about. And I faced my own apocalypse.
It was painful. It was incredibly scary for me….but…I had to learn to trust, in God and in others, and in doing so, I am a much better human person. I have more happiness, more life in giving of myself, in dying to my old false self.
Pope Francis, in his exhortation released this past week, called for us Catholics to be renewed in Christ. He wants us to re-claim that core message of God’s love proclaimed by Jesus Christ, and be renewed as people and as church. He wants us to experience the JOY of being transformed in Christ.
Advent is a time for us to consider this. We await the celebration of Christ’s birth. In this time of waiting, we all need to reflect on our lives…to honestly ask ourselves the hard question…are we truly living, or are we mere alive. Do we truly live as Catholics, or is it purely all in our head.
The Eucharist also challenges us each week to consider our lives in relationship to Jesus. The Eucharist always speaks of transformation, of change; the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ; the singular person joins with others in worship and becomes Christ. Words printed on a page are heard and become the Word of God.
Apocalypse can be NOW! Transformation can be now…it can be us not rushing out of the parking lot, but giving of ourselves to let others get out. It can be our holding our tongues in judgement against others and seeing the other as a child of God as well. It can be letting go of past hurts and abuse, and finally accepting that we are loved by God; and it does not matter who we are, or what we think we have done.