To be nobody but yourself -- in a world which is doing it's best, night and day, to make you like everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting. - E. E. Cummings (1894 – 1962: an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright.)
Gospel Text: (LK 21:25-28, 34-36)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus, in his deep familiarity with the “end time” readings of the Old Testament, offers a vision of a world out of order. The sun and moon are no longer in alignment and the roar of the sea and waves terrify people. These readings don’t frighten me but they do grab my attention, as if God is begging me not to be overwhelmed with what is out of order, but to pay attention to the promise, here and now.
Jesus talks about the anxieties of daily life and cautions us to “not become drowsy”
from them. We can fret about everything from terrorism to our “To Do” list. But Jesus
is offering us hope, consolation and his endless love. He tells us to pay attention at
all times and to pray for strength. What he really wants is for us to know how very
deeply each one of us is loved and cherished by him. I find this very consoling.
Relying on that love releases my fierce grip on control of my life. We can stop each
morning, set aside our “To Do” list and pray. We can ask God to help us feel how
deeply we are loved and to help us let go of things that really don’t matter.