Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday word, 29 Nov 2008

34th Saturday (29 Nov 2008)
Rv 22. 1-7; Ps 95; Lk 21. 34-36
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

God Adapts Mission to Time

Although the selection from the Book of Revelation and the gospel selection may seem to have in common only a view of the end of history and of time, they share rejection.

Rejection applied not only to the first-Century church, when a human regime, which ruled the western world, scoffed at Christianity and persecuted its adherents. Our contemporaries, and not only sophisticated people from developed lands, reject faith’s view of time.

The reason? Control, namely, God’s control of history. The consoling message of the Book of Revelation abides: God will shine living light when the solar source light and the lunar magnetism, drawing the tides ceases; God sets the times; God is in charge of history despite appearances to the contrary.

Also we, 21-Century people, are mesmerized by time to the point of enslavement. Time organizes more of us than we organize time. The frenetic pace many of us keep testifies to that. Even we religious are not immune. What does it mean if God keeps the time and sets the schedules? It means that human time is adapted to the mission entrusted to us by Jesus.

In calling us to join him on his mission means that we coworkers with him shape our attitude and our endeavors in the name of Jesus according to our vocation: to God’s call; to the words and deeds of Jesus; to our creative imitation of them in our circumstances; and to be vigilant for the gospel at all times. The challenge to do those things is coordinating our lives according to our baptismal mission.

Luke’s Jesus uniquely reminds us to be alert to his mission--our mission--so that the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch [us] by surprise like a snare snapping shut. Our focus on the end--that day--distracts us from the day-to-day counsel of Jesus about anxieties, literally, things dividing the mind./1/ Jesus warned about this throughout his ministry, introducing it vividly in his parable of the sower of the seed: people are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit. Being choked by them affects our mission: we fail to produce mature fruit./2/

The grace is that our Creator and Redeemer adapts his mission to human time. The end will arrive when the mission is satisfied. That frees us to live without apathy or hysteria so that our mission-efforts will be truly effective.
1. The New Testament world knew this effect of anxious interest on people by this phrase.
2. Luke 8.14; see Martha in 10.41; and Jesus encouragement to his disciples in 12. 22-26, where we easily miss the focus on self versus mission with a psychological connotation easily given to worry, the word often used to translate anxieties in verses 22, 25, 26.

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