“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory.
Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Reading this Gospel we might wonder: Wow, is this going to happen? When? It’s an awesome cosmic scenario!
With the previous liturgical year ending yesterday and the preparation for the birth of Jesus in Advent here, the focus will shift from the cosmic Christ to the baby Jesus. Jesus, fully human and fully divine is revealed.
But scripture scholars remind us that the debacles narrated in apocalyptic passages in Scripture refer to something more tangible: The Kingdom of God will bring the downfall of unjust, violent and sinful kingdoms. This baby about to born will change the world! Good triumphs over evil!
Prior to kneeling at the manger, we must kneel before the cosmic Christ and take to heart that the kingdom’s fulfillment requires our fidelity and labor. Jesus warns that our hearts should not be weighed down with dissipation and the worries of this life.
What are my worries?
—Fr. Rafael Garcia, SJ, is a member of the Jesuits Central and Southern Province. He serves as associate pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in El Paso, Texas, where he ministers to people who are migrants and refugees.
Loving God, here I am! May I be an instrument of your love and service to others, especially to the marginalized persons I encounter. May my worries resemble yours. Amen.
—Fr. Rafael Garcia, SJ