- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

December 2, 2017

Fr. Gerard D’Souza, OCSO [1]

34 Saturday in Ordinary Time
Last Day of the Liturgical Year

To tell someone today that we believe that Jesus will return and that time as we know it will come to an end is like telling them that Santa still lives at the North Pole. Even we Christians pay lip service to this. That Jesus who came in the past will actually come in the future and bring the world to an end is something of an embarrassment for Christians today.

We believe that time will go on indefinitely if National Grid keeps the power going Wegmans is still stocked up and you can still buy online from Amazon and Google keeps its servers in the cloud going. As for time coming to an end – we believe that time will come to an end when Trump presses the nuclear button and North Korea returns the compliment.

For that matter how many of us believe that we could die before the day is out. Of course someone else might meet with an accident, someone else might discover they have cancer because we are all mortal right?. But as for us, well…

With our sense of the future becoming so flabby and indefinite, we have lost the tautness of vigilance and have become in turn flabby. Monastic life is organized around the fact that the Lord might come at any time. Monastic vigils is precisely to keep watch for the Lord who will come. The Divine Office celebrates the three temporal dimensions – the Lord who came, who comes each hour and day and the Lord who will come. Our very doxology –the God who was, who is and who is to come – reminds us of the kind of temporal dimension we live in. The Eucharist is a memorial that makes what is past present and yet is also the pledge of the future. In short the Lord is the pivot point of all time and not Google nor the Fed.

When we lose the salt of eschatology, monastic life and Christian life becomes flabby and insipid. Prayer becomes boring because time will continue on tediously and monotonously. And the future that stretches on interminably can only be tolerated by filling it with distractions and entertainment.

So we should listen and take to heart the words of Jesus. They are not the words of the wise man who lived and then died in the past. They are the words of someone who rose from the dead and who lives forever – ‘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.