16 November. Friday, Week 32
1st Reading: 2 John (verses 4-9)
Love one another because Jesus has become incarnate in our flesh
I was overjoyed to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father. But now, dear lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning, let us love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning, you must walk in it.
Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist! Be on your guard, so that you do not lose what we have worked for, but may receive a full reward. Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
Resp. Psalm (Ps 118)
R.: Happy are they who follow the law of the Lord
They are happy whose life is blameless,
who follow God’s law!
They are happy who do his will,
seeking him with all their hearts. (R./)
I have sought you wilh all my heart:
let me not stray from your commands.
I treasure your promise in my heart
lest I sin against you. (R./)
Bless your servant and I shall live
and obey your word.
Open my eyes that I may see
the wonders of your law. (R./)
Gospel: Luke (17:26-37)
The Son of Man comes suddenly. Remember Lot’s wife and the evil days before Noah’s flood
Jesus said to his disciples, “As it was in Noah’s days, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven and destroyed all of them, it will be like that on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, anyone on the housetop who has belongings in the house must not come down to take them away; and likewise anyone in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it. I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken and the other left.” Then they asked him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
Distracted from God
It can happen that the good gifts of nature distract us from God. Because they are so good, they can substitute for God and stifle the desire to think about any life beyond this world or about God who invisibly sustains this good world of ours. Much closer to home, once the good meal is on the table, we seldom remember to thank the cook. Parents who lavish toys and gifts on their children are quickly and easily taken for granted.
By contrast, in his Letter John expresses great joy at finding some of his Christians walking in the path of truth, and loving one another. The path of truth leads through home and family, religious communities and daily obligations. Here is where we love with compassion, forgiveness and forbearance, with joy and hope. From this interaction we learn the meaning of God’s compassion towards us, and his joy in us. If we are always seeking God, the creator behind the beauty and greatness of our world, the Lover who inspires our love and gentleness, then we will always be ready for the coming of the Son of Man. Even if he comes without warning, we are ready.
While living fully and enthusiastically, we must always seek to look behind the veil of goodness and greatness to see the Creator. While loving one another, we need to be rooted in the love of Jesus, so as to deepen our own loving. If we forget God, our love will become shallow and even selfish; and such love does not last.
What will be revealed
The gospel warns against being so absorbed in the ordinary day to day activities of life that we neglect what is of ultimate importance. The reading speaks of eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, marrying wives and husbands. These activities and many other similar activities are the very stuff of life. They are vitally important. Life could not go on without them. They are so important that we may to see them as all that there is.
Above and beyond all of that necessary activity there is a deeper reality, what the reading refers to as the day for the Son of Man to be revealed. The Son of Man is revealed at the end of time and at the end of our own personal lives. He is also revealed in the here and now; he comes to us in and through those ordinary activities in which we are always engaged. As the Prologue to the gospel of John says, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. All of life is an invitation to behold and contemplate and engage with the Lord who is at the heart of all of life’s activities. He calls out to us, as we go about our daily lives; he seeks us out and we seek him out in response.