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The Coming Day
Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop
“As it was in Noah’s day, so will it also be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating and drinking, marrying wives and husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It will be the same as it was in Lot’s day: people were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but the day Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from Heaven and it destroyed them all. It will be the same when the day comes for the Son of Man to be revealed. When that day comes, no one on the housetop, with his possessions in the house, must come down to collect them, nor must anyone in the fields turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Anyone who tries to preserve his life will lose it; and anyone who loses it will keep it safe. I tell you, on that night, when two are in one bed, one will be taken, the other left; when two women are grinding corn together, one will be taken, the other left.” The disciples spoke up and asked, “Where, Lord?” He said, “Where the body is, there too will the vultures gather.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, increase my faith and may your Kingdom come in my heart and in the world.
- Profession of Belief: The liturgy continues to bring before our consciousness the reality of the second coming of Jesus. It is a reality very far from the minds of the multitude, and likely also far from our present consciousness. And yet, it is an essential element of our faith. We profess it in the Creed: “I believe in Jesus Christ…(who) is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.” In this Gospel passage, Jesus compared the moment of judgment to a time of definitive separation, like in the times of Noah. Those who chose to heed and follow the voice of the Lord were gathered into the ark and saved from perishing. He also compared it to the times of Lot. Those who continued in their daily routines without taking heed were left to perish. It is a hard lesson, but one that calls us to an examination of conscience. Do we believe what we profess? How do we live in anticipation of the coming of the Son of Man?
- Preservation: Jesus said that those who try to save their life will lose it, and that those who lose it will keep it safe. What does each group seek to preserve? Temporal and fleeting pleasures of life or values that endure eternally? The story of Lot’s wife teaches us to keep our eyes on the new life that the Lord offers us, especially as we flee from the destruction of the old life. Ironically, Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt, which preserves life for others. It is a reminder that only God has the key to total preservation. He can unlock eternity. That key is Jesus Christ, who already won salvation for us. He desires to continue to establish his Kingdom among us to help us persevere in our faith.
- Existential Signs: We not only profess our faith in the coming of Jesus, but also experience this truth in the existential tension of our lives. We live it day to day in the sensation that there is something more to this life that still escapes us. In the words of the musical group U2, “I still haven’t found what I am looking for.” At the beginning of their music video, filmed in the heart of Las Vegas, stands a cross in the background, symbolizing a hint of what the heart longs for. And yet they continue to walk the streets that taunt the senses with money, women, cars—all fleeting pleasures of this world. They sing that they believe in the Kingdom to come, but still haven’t found what they are looking for. The challenge for us as Christians is to be bold and not afraid to lose the life which the “vultures feed off of,” and preserve the true life nurtured by hope and faith that move us in the direction of God’s eternal Kingdom.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, come and make your home in me. Prepare my heart for your continual coming until your definitive judgment. May I not fear this moment, but live in true hope of dwelling in the fullness of your Kingdom. Grant me the grace to be courageous and “lose my life” where and when needed so that I can preserve my life with you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will reflect on how my lifestyle reflects the underlying choice of which kingdom I side with—the temporal or the eternal.
For Further Reflection: While this is a secular song, it reflects the existential tension that exists in every human person and the struggle to lose our life for the sake of God’s Kingdom; and Nine Days to Christ the King Novena, Day 1.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala and “Nine Days with Mary Magdalene.”