By Sister Penelope Wink, CHM
Gospel LK 21:25-28, 34-36
In this Gospel, Luke attributes these words to Jesus: “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.” (Luke 21:25ff)
Today, some of us are taking note of the disaster we have made of the earth and our relationships with all of creation. Pope Francis, with his words and his ways, has helped us to stop and look and listen. How are we treating God’s creation, water, air, resources? What has happened to the value of good personal relationships with the family, neighbors, co-workers and the needy — close or far? How much have we numbed ourselves with our individualistic and technological society? “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life…” (Lk 21: 34)
Only if we really wake up, look and listen to these “signs of our times” will we be able to “see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (Lk 21: 27)
Sometimes we just don’t get it, or don’t want to really get the gist of the message. Only if we really see and really hear and let ourselves be touched by the sighs, the pains, the glories of our time, will we be able to see the Son of Man.
That is how Jesus revealed himself when he was here on earth, curing the sick, pardoning the afflicted, responding to the pains of fathers, mothers, the poor and the outcast, denouncing the powerful for stepping on the poor and announcing God’s parental love for all. Facing and embracing the pains and glories of our time, we follow Jesus and avoid the useless sense of anxiety that paralyzes us.
Luke also puts these words in the mouth of Jesus: “But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Lk 21: 28)
Going all the way back to Luke 4:18-22, when Jesus recognizes his anointment to respond to the needs of the time, and all the way through Luke 21, I understand that Jesus is saying: “Stand up, look around you, listen to others, and do something! Just as I did! That is how you will find me now and that way you will be able ‘to stand before the Son of Man’ (Lk 21: 36) at the end of your days.”
(Sr. Wink is a pastoral worker and psychotherapist in Chiapas, Mexico.)