Time for tribulation or time for jubilation?

Listen to the words from the beginning of today’s Gospel selection [Mark 13:24-32]:

Jesus said to his disciples:  ‘In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

If we had heard these words a few weeks ago, we might have thought they were from a political ad describing what life was to be like if the “OTHER” party had won … the sky would get dar, the moon would not gives it light, and stars would fall from the sky.  Thank goodness that has not been the case.

As we move toward the end of the liturgical year, the Scripture gives us a reminder that one day the world as we know it will come to an end — no one knows when or how — but all that we see is passing away and one day will end.

And so has it always been … and is now.  As we learned from this past election, the “look of America” and the “what an American looks like” is forever changed …. we are no longer a nation where white men make up the majority of the population.  This is but one example of radical changes that we see and that we have all experienced —- for many reasons life changes — things end — and things begin.

We can ask: is this time of tribulation or time of jubilation?  I believe that how we answer that question depends on our outlook on life, our attitude, and the depth of our faith.

For some, the changes [the endings] will be a source of tribulation and a time of fear.  For others, the changes [endings] will be reason for jubilation and a time of hope.

What is changing in your life [your world]?  What is ending in your life and world?  Is your life being shaken?  Has your view of life and the future been shaken recently — by the election, by something someone said, by an experience you had?  Do you feel like you are standing on shaky ground?

In times of crisis and change, we are called to:

1. Fall into the hands of God, rely on faith

        God sees beyond today.  God sees beyond our fears.  God has promised to be with us always.  His words and HIS WORD will never pass away.   Breathe deep, pray for peace.

2.  Stand up to your foes.

Do not run from people or things that threaten.  We are strong and we can face whatever is happening.  Stand up to your fears — take courage, do not be afraid.

3.  look at the fig tree … learn a lesson.

In the spring new life will come.  What is your vision for new life?  What does a better day look like?  As one thing is ending, do you see possibility of something else happening?  People of faith see beyond the moment into the next moment — beyond the winter is the spring and the new fruit that the tree of life — you and me — will bear.

Every person and every family knows trouble —- every one of us has seen catastrophe and loss come our way.  We know the mystery of the scripture because we have lived through them — and we are still here and still living.

There were times of darkness when we felt paralyzed — and when we did not know what to do or what to say.  We felt powerless in the face of the new darkness and the new challenge.  From deep within we found the energy to face the foe — and we created new life.

Death and the end time is not a morbid thought for a man or woman of faith.  There might be sadness, but not a sadness without end.  Change and loss is not something to fear either.

Are we willing to let go of what we know to take on the new?

is the a time of tribulation or a time for jubilation?



About thegospelforliving

Retired Catholic Priest - now serving the community as a paralegal and charter school consultant.
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