Jesus has some pretty strong words for us in today’s readings. This whole week, it seems Luke is full of the types of readings that we would rather skim over and get on to something more palatable like, “Bring the little children unto me.” Who doesn’t love the vision of Jesus surrounded by a group of cute kiddos?
But today’s reading doesn’t have cute kids or even words that easily morph into a Facebook ready platitude complete with sunbeamed image. Jesus is pretty direct and pretty harsh.
“You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”
St. Augustine said that nature, creation is God’s first book. It is through the study of what He created and how He created it that we can come to better know the Creator, our Creator. God speaks to us in and through nature. In the fall, as a result of Adam and Eve’s attempt to become like God without going through God, this “natural” pathway of communication became jumbled and garbled. We touch vestiges of it when we are moved by a sunset or a baby’s smile. At other times, we look at the clouds and simply try to predict the weather.
I have a mental picture of my guardian angel doing a facepalm. “Seriously, Sheryl, you look at the mystery and grandeur of creation and all you can see is if you can fit in a trip to the beach?”
When we look at creation strictly for how we can use it, we are missing the point of the story written into nature. In nature, we can read of the love of our God. We see the handiwork of our Father, who delighted in creating us and supplying all our needs. Our Father, who we turn away from again and again through our own choice with our weakened will and darkened intellect. It is the same story we read in the other book of God’s revelation, the history of Salvation in the Bible. Man thinks he has a better way, and God calls him back.
Which brings us to the rest of this passage. If we read the signs of the times in God’s creation around us, we need to not just read those signs but act on them. Where there is disharmony or unrest, we need to bring peace and unity. We need to reach out to others for reconciliation. The only sin for which we cannot be forgiven is unforgiveness to others. This is a hard pill to swallow! We say it every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, forgive us as we forgive others. Do we really mean this? Do we really do this? What if God grants me exactly what I ask for and forgives me exactly to the extent that I have forgiven others? This is not to diminish any hurt or pain that you may have suffered at another’s hands. It is more a recognition that most of the time, what are the grudges, hurts, and pains we hold onto? It isn’t the big stuff! To bend an old saying, unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting it to hurt the other person. Inevitably, if we harbor unforgiveness, we are the ones who die internally and eventually eternally.
That is what Jesus is telling us in such strong language today. We need to read the signs of our own times and then act on them. If necessary, we need to avail ourselves of God’s ever ready mercy in the confessional and let go of our unforgiveness so that we too may be forgiven.
We will all stand before THE Judge one day. Will he hand us over until the last penny is paid, or will he say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”?
May God bless you today and happy reading!
Sheryl delights in being the number 1 cheerleader and supporter for her husband, Tom who is a candidate for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. They are so grateful for the opportunity to grow together in this process whether it is studying for classes, deepening their prayer life or discovering new ways to serve together. Sheryl’s day job is serving her community as the principal for St. Therese Catholic School in Wayland, Michigan. Since every time she thinks she gets life all figured out, she realizes just how far she has to go, St. Rita of Cascia is her go-to Saint for intercession and help. Home includes Brea, a Bernese Mountain dog and Carlyn, a very, very goofy Golden Retriever.