Becoming What You Behold
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” ~ Luke 21:33
Devotees of Saint Padre Pio may recognize the scripture passage I chose to kick off today’s reflection, for it represents what I like to call the “third leg” of the Efficacious Novena to the Sacred Heart of a Jesus, a prayer the stigmatist offered up every day of his life for those who asked for his prayers. His spiritual children, of which I am one, also recite this prayer daily so as to be mystically united with and to the prayers of Saint Pio, who was fond of promising his devotees that it would not be until his death that his holy ministry would truly begin in earnest. “When I die,” the humble friar would often say, “I will ask the Lord to allow me to remain on the threshold of paradise, and I will not enter until the last of my children have entered.”
How’s that for a Black Friday “doorbuster deal?”
With a mere two days remaining in the Liturgical year, let’s plum the depths of the remainder of today’s Gospel passage from Luke (21:29-33), wherein Jesus recites the parable of the fig tree, the perfect pairing with today’s Apocalyptic 1st Reading from Daniel (7:2-14) where we are reminded that “one like a son of man is coming,” one whose “dominion is an everlasting dominion, that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.”
“Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open,you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.”
What makes Advent such an interesting and pivotal season is that it allows us the opportunity to not only reflect upon the birth of our Savior, his “First Coming” if you will, but also his Second Coming. Whether that day is tomorrow or 1,000 years from now, our day of reckoning, that day when we will stand before the just judge, is surely coming. In fact for those of you who brave “Black Friday” and pick a fight with the wrong guy ~ or girl ~ over an absurdly discounted flat screen TV, it could be sooner then you think. Don’t believe me? Turn on the news tonight; I guarantee you that they’ll be at least one story about an all-out brawl breaking out over a discounted appliance of some sort.
But for those who have chosen “the better part,” those who remain at the foot of our Savior this Christmas Season, they will enjoy serenity, the peace that Jesus offered his shocked disciples on the heels of His glorious Resurrection. They will not tirelessly pursue the vapid and unsatisfying treasures of earth, those which “moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.“ They instead pursue those things that are eternal, those things that exude eternal life in the Kingdom, which is now and to come.
“The Lord speaks of peace to his people and his holy ones and to those who turn to him.” ~ Psalm 85:8