Thursday, May 17, 2007

Do we expect Jesus to check our schedule?

Sixth Week of Easter
Mass Readings:
Acts 18:1-8
John 16:16-20

A little while. Three simple but controversial words. Jesus uses these words and the disciples go into confusion mode. It wouldn't be just the disciples. Many in the early Church were so convinced that Jesus' return was imminent that they went out to the mountains and waited for Jesus to come and deliver them. They died on the mountain top. Apparently Jesus didn't check with their schedule.

I grew up in a rather fundamentalist Protestant tradition. I remember coming to church and finding a huge poster on one side of the church building that had the "End Times" on an easy to read grid. Did Jesus check with the pastor's schedule and confirm his arrival? That church is now closed.

We humans tend to want Jesus to do things according to our schedule. We are a very impatient lot. We can grow very disenchanted with waiting. The early Church experienced that. A little while was thought to mean right now. Sort of like a child that you tell to wait a little while to go to the store. Thirty seconds later that child cannot understand why it hasn't happened yet! We tend to be that way when we wait for Jesus. St. Paul would address the problem of why Jesus was "delayed". The Second Coming didn't happen the way the early Church expected. So why do we today expect to have the "time line" figured out? We can be bombarded by televangelists who declare that Jesus is coming now! A little while for them seems to mean right now.

The problem is that we cannot place restrictions on God Time or Kairos Time. We have no idea of how long a little while is for God. How long it is before Jesus returns is known to the Father alone. We cannot quantify Kairos Time. We are to live as if our souls were to be claimed today yet not obsess or worry over the schedule for the Second Coming. When it is time, it is time.

A part of one of the Eucharistic prayers asks God to help keep us aware to the signs of the times. What does that mean? We can interpret it numerous ways but I believe it is a call for us to be always aware of God's presence. It calls us to be vigilant about the opportunities given to us to proclaim the Good News! We cannot abandon our call as disciples. Everyday should be a day to proclaim Salvation. Everyday should be a cherished moment to draw closer to the Lord. Jesus will return in a little while so let us not view Jesus' "delay" as an excuse to give up discipleship and go wait for Jesus. Jesus could come today or a 100 years from now and we must use every opportunity to be Christ to the world.