Many times people were confused by the things that Jesus said. The gospel reading this Sunday is a good example. We hear Jesus saying to this disciples: "In those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” Does this sound like something we might read in the newspaper or hear about in news reports. If that is not enough, we also read from the book of Daniel: it shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time.” It’s the kind of reading that can leave us wanting to go and pray for an early and happy death. Maybe all those folks who keep saying “the world is going to hell in a hand basket” are right after all!
But the interesting thing is that in the midst of things that look bleak and hopeless, we hear Jesus also say “And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds' with great power and glory.” In the Gospel of John, we hear Jesus say, “the light came into the world and the darkness did not overcome it.”
If our world needs anything, it needs people who will be this light in our world. Naysayers abound. And the truth is that people are much more attracted to fear and anxiety than they are to hope and life. As strange as it may sound, we are more inclined to entertain the negative in life rather than the positive. To be a person of light is not a matter of looking at the world through rose colored glasses. Jesus also told his disciples that they were not just to be a gentle as lambs but as cunning as wolves. To be a person of light is to be able to see all the messiness and all the pooh in life and to proclaim to the world: this is not all there is. To be a person of light is to know that God’s life is more powerful than pain and suffering and cynicism and negativity.
To be a person of light takes a great deal of courage. We see everything there is in the world and we live in the midst of many things that we can understand let alone make better. We choose to be centered in God. We choose to see the world through the his eyes. I think that is why Pope Francis keeps reminding people about the joy of the Gospel. It is good news. It is what prompted Teresa of Avila to say Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, all things are passing away. God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.”
The poet Hafiz says it another way: Troubled? Then stay with me, for I am not. Lonely? A thousand naked amorous ones dwell in ancient caves beneath my eylids. Riches? Here’s a pick, my whole body is an emerald that begs, “Take Me.” Write all that worries you on a piece of parchment” offer it to God. Even from the distance of a millennium. I can lean the flame of my heart into your life and turn all that frightens you into holy incense ash.
Leaning into the journey of life.
Fr. Gene Schroeder