Weekly Liturgy : November 21-27
First Week of Advent
36 “But nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the heavenly angels and not the Son. Only the Father knows. 37 As it was in the time of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Human One. 38 In those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. 39 They didn’t know what was happening until the flood came and swept them all away. The coming of the Human One will be like that. 40 At that time there will be two men in the field. One will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill. One will be taken and the other left. 42 Therefore, stay alert! You don’t know what day the Lord is coming.43 But you understand that if the head of the house knew at what time the thief would come, he would keep alert and wouldn’t allow the thief to break into his house. 44 Therefore, you also should be prepared, because the Human One will come at a time you don’t know.
Apocalypse means “unveiling.” It’s about seeing things as they really are. That’s what apocalyptic literature is trying to do-name the stuff that we want to deny! When we see this passage through the eyes of Jesus, perhaps being left behind is not such a bad thing. Here’s what I mean.
Jesus begins the passage by recalling the stormy days of Noah when “the earth was filled with violence” (Gen. 6:11). It seems clear to me that the flood that Jesus is referring to is more than a flood of water. It’s the flood of violence that “swept away” the people. Noah and his family were not taken by the massive outbreak of violence. They did not drown in the ever-descending spiral of retribution and vengeance. Instead, they were left behind in the ark of peace.
In Christ, we too are left behind. We are called out of the violence that so easily sweeps us away. The phrase “left behind” can also be translated as “forgiven.” This is the key to the text. It is through forgiveness and the gift of mercy made real in Jesus that we escape the growing contagion of violence that is flooding the world, and our hearts, at the price of our own humanity. It is only as we come to discover ourselves as forgiven that we are set free to seek peace and reclaim the humanity we have forsaken.
Can we see? The apocalypse is not God’s wrath poured on us. It’s our wrath poured out on each other and projected onto God. It’s Jesus who unveils this craziness and gives us the gift of peace. This is the promise of the Incarnation and the gift being given in the first waiting room of Christmas.
Outward Mindset Application Compliment three coworkers today.
Pathways Toward Centeredness Reflect on the last time someone forgave you. Consider someone you might need to forgive. Starting your process by writing a note of forgiveness even if you are not ready to send it.
Questions for Reflection What is the most significant moment of forgiveness you have experienced from another human? What did that forgiveness provide for you? Do you think it's even possible to replicate the sort of forgiveness that Jesus seems to demonstrate on the cross?