Finally – Saturday, 34th Week in ordinary time – Luke 21:34-36
Tomorrow we begin the season of advent. This entire week we have heard the texts from chapter 21 which oscillate from apocalyptic teaching to eschatological expectations. That text ends today with words of sage advice from our Lord; be on your guard. If the enemy was at our doorstep no one would even need to remind us of being watchful; a possible immanent attack would shake us all out of our slumber. But that same watchman may throw caution to the winds in times of peace.
Jesus is the prince of peace but that does not mean the enemy is going to let his guard down when it comes to waging a war. How often has our procrastination kept us flirting on the borders of sin rather than in the safety of the pearly gates. Procrastination is rooted in the belief that nothing is going to happen today that will shake my world; that is a mistake.
So, we settle to a life laid back in the secular rather than stand ready for the hour that the Lord has ordained. We get weighed down by dissipation; there is a focus on an overindulgence in sensual pleasures. Nietzsche said that the mother of dissipation is not joy but joylessness. The scriptures highlights drunkenness as one such example. Joy and moderation go hand in hand. When our hearts are happy, our own skins are a good place to be; we do not need to be blown out of our minds by alcohol or other drugs. If not, we permit our minds to be drawn to every cause and concern that the world raises, every pleasure it offers and we make it our own. Their red flags become ours, their voice of concerns is lived in our homes, their definition of joy becomes our yardstick. And this as scripture tells us is ‘a trap’ (verse 35a).
How then does one battle forces as strong as the world? Jesus suggest that a life of vigilant prayer rooted in total dependence to God is the answer (36b). Prayer puts us in touch with the strong love of God which gives us support and courage in times of difficulty. This is not some human will that prevails but a grace that comes from God. Remember that scripture told us that a trap has been set for the children of light. Traps are designed to ensnare their victims and not make escape easy. Evading the traps set by the world, with is shiny trinkets laid as bait, will take all the resolve and strength to escape (verse 36b). But when we do, we will stand before the Son of Man.
As we end this liturgical year, I want to thank you all, our readers, for your love and support.
Fr Warner D’souza