Stay on Target

In the first Star Wars movie made, “A New Hope,” the rebel forces (the good guys) are trying to destroy the formidable Death Star. On a mission to fire a shot into its only significant vulnerable point, one of the fighter jets barrels down a dangerous trench on the surface of the Death Star—enemies following closely on his tail. Suddenly, the flyer of the fighter jet starts to panic.  His fellow pilot exhorts his comrade in a steady, firm tone to, “Stay on target!” The first pilot continues to waver, and again, his companion urges him, “Stay on target!” (Spoiler alert…they are ultimately victorious.)

Today’s gospel reading reminds me of this scene from Star Wars. It is Jesus himself who reminds us to “stay on target.”

When the world seems to be going haywire, we, like the people in today’s Gospel reading, start to ask Jesus, “When, Lord, can we expect things to be put right? How much longer can this go on?” We are assaulted on every side: sex trafficking, gender ideology, terrorism, and even the buying and selling of aborted baby parts. “How long” indeed! There are no clear answers from our Lord to this question, but he remains faithful and so should we.

We do know that “the day of the Lord” will come unexpectedly, like the flood came in Noah’s time. Jesus warns his disciples, and he warns us, that we must not become distracted. “Do not go off, do not run in pursuit” of some sort of false messiah or sensational “answer to all our problems”.

We need to focus on the basics…that never changes. We are called by Christ to be steady, to continue as his faith followers, growing in virtue, keeping his commandments, abounding in charity. In the fight against the most formidable enemy we will ever have, we must “stay on target.” As it says in the Book of Proverbs 4:25-27, “Let your eyes look straight ahead and your gaze be focused forward. Turn neither to right nor to left…” Herein lies our victory!

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Christine Hanus is a thwarted idealist who, nevertheless, lives quite happily in Upstate NY. She is a wife and mother of five grown children.

Feature Image Credit: Caro Mendoza,