Tuesday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time
1 Thessalonians 5: 1-6, 9-11, Luke 4: 31-37)
I find it intriguing that so many people keep wanting to predict the end of the world in light f the fact that Jesus never saw fit to reveal the date of His return in glory. If the COVID pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we have no idea of what is going to happen next. There is just enough misinformation to keep everyone off-balance. The angst between it’s my body and my right to choose, and the moral obligation in charity to defend the health of others is creating a great divide between us. Vocal groups have emerged on each side of the divide. One calling for a moral exemption and another calling for Vaccination Passports. The frustration and anxiety are exacerbated by countless unanswered questions and constantly changing agency directives. Not liking the discomfort, we revert to bluster and monologue. We create the allusion of control by talking over people rather than listening to what they are saying.
Patience and long-suffering are not among my skillsets. The vaccines have not proven the miracle cure. We have grown tired of isolating and distancing. We find masking a gross imposition. On top of all this, no one can tell us when it will end. Despite all the hype and bluster, there do not seem to be any clear or definitive answers. Like the return of the Lord in glory, the end of the pandemic will come like a thief in the night. Because there are no easy answers, we need to encourage one another and build each other up to face whatever the future has to offer. The author of today’s first reading offers some important advice. “Stay alert and cautious. Be self-controlled, calm and prudent” (1 Thes. 5:6). Only in Christ can we experience profound peace when confronted by life’s storms.
We don’t know what will happen or when, but we need to be alert, do what’s right, and be ready to respond. As we strive to read the signs of the times, we have the assurance that the Lord is our light and our salvation. As we confront the challenges imposed by COVID 19, we can rely on Christ to sustain us because it is in Him that we live and move and have our being. Jesus is the bridge across the great divide that separates us. Because He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, he can guide us to solutions that are prudent, effective, and life-giving. As we grope our way through the darkness and anxiety of the pandemic in search of ways to start again, we will have the Light of the World as our guide. Only in the power of the Holy Spirit can we find our true compass. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will be empowered to take up our responsibilities to better serve one another.
I will close with a few words spoken by Dr. Bernice King (daughter of Martin Luther King). “We have to connect with one another, work collectively together, and cross difficult lines by having challenging and courageous conversations even with those who may have different perspectives than us… We can’t just dismiss them, discount them, and—as we say in this culture—‘cancel’ them because they are part of our humanity and the loving community that we are trying to create and manifest.”