The Holy Gospel According to Luke (17:26-37)
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.”
Reflection: As we get close to the end of the liturgical year, the Gospels speak of the “end times.” In today’s Gospel, which is a continuation of yesterday’s, Jesus is telling his disciples what it will be like when the Son of Man returns. Jesus tells them about two stories that they would be familiar with as both are in the Old Testament. The first is about Noah’s ark and the great flood. The second is when Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed. In both of these events, people were going about their usual lives as if nothing was going to happen. Then on a particular day, destruction comes suddenly and without warning.
How does all this relate to us today? We know that there will be a second coming of Jesus. This is something we pray for at each mass. In the Nicene Creed, we say, “He will come again in glory…” Another time, after the consecration, the priest says, “The mystery of faith.” One of our responses is, “We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your resurrection until you come again.” Jesus himself tells us he will come again, but we do not know the day or hour. He tells us, “it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.”
In the recent past there have been events and people that predicted the end is coming and even giving us a date when that would happen. Two that I remember are evangelist Harold Camping telling us the 2nd coming of Christ was going to be on May 21, 2011. He had billboards telling us to be ready because Jesus was returning. The second was December 21, 2012. This was the last date on the Mayan calendar. Well, we are all still here.
Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God is among us. We are to continue living our life in grace and to be spiritually prepared to build up the Kingdom of God here and now. We need to trust in God and not be preoccupied when the end of the world will be. If we trust in God, we should not be concerned with the “end Times.” I believe most of us will die a natural death before Jesus returns. In a way, that will be our “end time” and we will see the second coming, when we stand before the Lord after we die.
Action for the Day: Today, reflect on those things that keep us spiritually prepared. It could be a number of things, like prayer, praying the rosary, reading the Bible, going to mass during the week or other things. Whatever it is that you do, keep on doing it to build up the Kingdom of God here and now. Trust in the Lord, and be ready at all times, for we do not know when the Son of Man will return.