Posts Tagged ‘11-13-2016’

Count On It 11-13-2016

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

One night in 1983, over 100 million television viewers saw the movie The Day After. Filmed in Lawrence, Kansas, it portrayed what that city would be like after a nuclear attack.
Just before the film began, a warning flashed on the screen, saying, “Because of graphic portrayal of nuclear war, this film may be unsuitable for children. Parental discretion is advised.”
The warning was well given. For during the next 128 minutes, the movie showed shocking scenes of death and destruction. The script, too, was shocking and disturbing. It made us realize that the possibility of a nuclear attack was greater than we had ever imagined.
The words and images of today’s gospel are reminiscent of the words and images of that film.
Jesus portrays for us, graphically, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. For Jews, the destruction of these two things was equivalent to the end of the world.
Precisely for this reason, the Church uses this gospel passage as one of its readings for the end of the liturgical year. It wants us to reflect on the end of the world.
It wants us to reflect on that moment when the world, as we know it, will pass away.
It wants us to ask ourselves, “How prepared will we be for that moment when it comes?”
A few stories to help us reflect…
John was a building contractor for a construction company. His specialty was large luxury homes.
To increase his income, John routinely cheated on the materials that went into the homes. He was so clever at concealing these shortcuts that he joked to a close friend that even he couldn’t detect his own shortcuts.
Sometimes his cheating reached such a proportion that the homeowners were in fairly serious danger because of the under constructed electrical systems and the like.
The building contractor’s shortcuts were especially dangerous in the final home he built. Even he worried about some of the things he did in that home.
You can imagine his utter consternation, therefore, when the company gave the contractor this home as a retirement gift. It would be the home in which he and his wife would spend the rest of their years.
How is this story a parable of life? What corners are we cutting in our life, figuring nobody will be the wiser for it? Speak to God about the shortcuts in our life.
In April 1987, Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle was returning by plane to his home in Dallas. Suddenly he began to sweat and have difficulty breathing. The thought flashed into his mind: “I’m having a heart attack!” He summoned a flight attendant and was given oxygen. When the plane landed, he was rushed to a hospital.
Later, Mantle told an Associated Press correspondent about a dream he had while he was in the hospital.
“I dreamed I died and went to heaven. Saint Peter greeted me. I said, ‘I’m Mickey Mantle.’ He said, ‘Really? Come in, God wants to see you.’
“I went to see God, and he said, ‘We can’t keep you here because of the way you acted. But do me a favor and sign six dozen baseballs.’”
When the humor of Mantle’s dream subsides, truth emerges: No one will escape God’s judgment, and no one will get VIP treatment in that judgment.
What frightens us most about standing before God in judgment? Speak to God about this fear, and ask God how we can overcome it.
I would like to close with these few words, think of them when you start worrying too much about anything. Especially about when the end of the world might happen.
If God were to drop us a postcard today, I think he might write, “My dear sons and daughters I love you in Jesus more than you can ever know. Through the human nature of my son I share all of your life with you – even the sickness and failure and pain, even the final cross and the knowledge of death. Not all, or even many, of the crosses you will put up with in life are of my making. Believe me, I grieve over them just as much as you do. But in the midst of it all, I will be there. I will be there with you. I will be there for you. And a relationship will be forged between us that earth and time and heaven and hell will never be able to break. I love you. True, bad things are bound to happen – but never the worst. I will always have you, and you will always have me. Count on it!”