Next Sunday we will celebrate the feast of Christ the King and the end of the Liturgical year.
The focus today is on the end of the world as we know it and the second coming of Christ.
Life seems to be a series of endings and beginnings. Letting go and making space for something new.
In all this, we are not carried along as driftwood but as active participants. We have responsibility for what happens. All three readings this Sunday point this out.
Endings can be painful. It was unthinkable for a Jew at the time of Jesus that the Temple would be destroyed. God’s presence was in the Temple, it was the centre of worship and the Law. Yet it had to go to make way for the message of Christ that we are, each of us, Gods temple...that God is not just in the Holy of Holies but in all of creation.
It is hard for us to let go of what we know and are familiar with or to find the whole basis of our belief questioned. There is a violence about it being taken from us. The Gospel sets a fairly violent scene! ‘Men will seize, persecute, hand you over, you will be betrayed…hated because of my name’.
In this chaos, attention is also called to the need for discernment, for recognizing the different forces at work. ‘Take care not to be deceived.’ This helps us make good choices in both the letting go and the opening to the new. When we are able to distinguish what is for good and not so good in what goes on around us but also within ourselves we will be less likely to be carried where we might not want to go.
What could the new be for us today? We see marches on our streets drawing attention to the need for care of the environment. The variety of cultures call us to inclusivity and integration , to value the richness of diversity. We are called to respect the different ways people live out their relationship with each other and with the Divine. You will think of others.
Going back to the second reading, there can be no innocent by-standers. As part of the Body of Christ we all have a part to play in bringing about a new reality where Christ is all in all.
The song based on the words of St. Teresa of Avila expresses very well how Christ lives today in and through each one of us.
Christ has no body now but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
This may seem a daunting task. We need not worry. Our part is to be available, to make space in our lives and hearts. God comes in to do the rest!