Saturday, December 03, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Today’s text

From a biblical commentary by Saint Ephrem (deacon, 306-373)

About that hour no one knows, neither the angels nor the Son. It is not for you to know times or moments. He has kept these things hidden so that we may keep watch, each of us thinking that he will come in our own day. If he had revealed the time of his coming, his coming would have lost its savor; it would no longer be an object of yearning for the nations and the age in which it will be revealed. He promised that he would come but did not say when he would come, and so all generations await him eagerly.


Just so, yearning, not satisfaction, remains the larger part of our lives.

We are always oriented and drawn to something more, hoping that the goodness we have known is but a part, a sample of what will be. We also yearn that the injustice and suffering, which is part of every time and every life, will pass away like a bad dream in the dawning light of our Lord’s eternal morning.

St. Paul counseled that it is a holy and good thing to be content with what the possessions and wealth one has. But contentment with what we have known and experienced of Christ is a sickness unto death. It invites a sleepy lethargy, pathetic apathy, depression and timidity.

To be content with what we know and feel of Christ turns us from the grace he is eager to share. We no longer meet each day, no, each new moment and encounter with the hope that the face of the person before us may turn transparent to that Love who seeks our hearts. It deadens the mind to the possibility that we might glimpse signs of the kingdom of God’s peace breaking into our daily routines, stirring our hearts to gratitude for the One who is ever at hand, always near.

To be content with such fragments of Christ’s reign, as we now experience on earth, turns us from the plight of the poor and those who suffer injustice. It makes us content with the status quo so that we become a friend of death, no longer challenging the powers and injustices that feed poverty and starvation while protecting the rich, not to mention our comfortable lifestyles.

The suffering of this age and every death we see should stir us to pray, ‘Come Lord Jesus,’ moving also to watch and not lose heart. For Christ promises to come, and we should be eager for his appearance. We have seen and felt the pains he has promised to erase, when he comes to make all things new and wipe every tear from our eyes.

We are eager for his appearance not only because of our own and the world’s pains, but because we have seen the graciousness of his love in our brother, Jesus.

We have witnessed his coming in a thousand ways and places, a thousand days and faces where the One who is Love shows his beauty and awakens the same gracious loveliness within our hearts that it may flow from our hands and our words.

All this should well move us to be eager for Christ’s every appearance, looking for him in all the places of our lives. For he who is … is pleased to come to you.

Pr. David L. Miller

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