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Do Not Be Afraid!
Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious
Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all. So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, someone who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise one in the field must not return to what was left behind. Remember the wife of Lot. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left.” They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.”
Opening Prayer: Holy Spirit, come and prepare my heart for the coming of Christ.
- The End: We have been reflecting in these past days on the invisible, mysterious character of supernatural things, namely of the kingdom of God. This Gospel develops this theme further by describing the unpredictable way supernatural things occur. Jesus made reference to the sudden nature of the flood in Noah’s days, which came upon the world as an overpowering wave—unpredictable, overwhelming, definite. Jesus also referred to the end-times, which will occur in an equally unexpected but definite fashion. And we can acknowledge the mystery and inevitability of our own death one day, which we cannot foresee. Most supernatural things have that unpredictable quality, do they not?
- Unpredictability: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man…the flood came and destroyed them all.” The most common reaction when hearing that “it” could happen at any time is anguish. We tend to get nervous, but let’s take another look at the Gospel. The flood Jesus announces is the “day of the Son of Man.” So it is not a question of when “it” will come, but when “he” will come. The overpowering flood at the end of time will be the coming of Christ in an unpredictable, overwhelming, and definite way. People will no longer be able to avoid Christ. The flood of his coming will destroy the many shields with which mankind tries to keep God out of their lives. Living in a state of grace is the best way to peacefully prepare for his coming.
- His Day: Jesus calls himself the Son of Man in order to express how closely bonded he is to us. We do not have to be afraid! He refers to our last days as his days. We do not have to be afraid! He is our friend, our love, our happiness. So, we do not have to be afraid! Let’s renew our resolve to give him first place in our lives today. If we do, his day at the end of times will be a day of familiar friendship, of strong love, and of happiness, which has its root in our life now. It will be a day to look forward to—a day we prepare for by praying, “Thy Kingdom Come!”
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, I want to be prepared for your coming, either at the end of time or at my death. Please reassure me through the sacraments that your grace is sufficient. Help me to live today so that everything I do brings glory to you. May “Thy Kingdom Come” in my life today.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will try to live in such a way that your coming will not be a cause for anguish but for joy.
For Further Reflection: “And what is the attitude of the Christian? It is the attitude of hope in God, which allows us not to be overwhelmed by tragic events. Indeed, they are an ‘opportunity to bear witness.’ Christ’s disciples cannot remain slaves to fears and anxieties; instead they are called to live history, to stem the destructive force of evil, with the certainty that the Lord’s action of goodness is always accompanied by his providential and reassuring tenderness. This is the eloquent sign that the kingdom of God is coming to us, that is, that the realization of the world as God wants it is approaching. It is he, the Lord, who guides our existence and knows the ultimate purpose of things and events” (Pope Francis, Angelus address on November 17, 2019: Complete address).
Written by Fr. Gabriel von Wendt, LC.