Tuesday, November 28, 2006

34th Tuesday in Ordinary Time (II)
The Juice that Endures

Readings: Revelations 14:14-19; Psalm 96:10, 11-12, 13; Luke 21:5-11

I’ve visited vineyards and wineries before, but for some reason the image that the first reading brings to mind is a sugar cane making machine. At the hawker stall we don’t often see the sharp sickle or parang (machete) that was used to harvest the sugar cane. But we do get to witness the stallholder feeding the tough green stems into his machine. And we see the result. The only useful thing – from our point of view at least – that remains is a thirst-quenching glass of juice. The rest is discarded.

In this final week of our liturgical year, our readings continue to invite us to consider what will happen at the end of time. When that day comes, many things will be no more. As Jesus says in the gospel, All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed. A sobering thought, especially when we are then led to reflect upon the various things that take up our attention each day. How many of these will endure? If not even the beautiful religious structure that is the Jerusalem Temple is spared, what will remain of the things of our world?

We know the answer to that question, don’t we? As we heard in the psalm, when the Lord does come, it will be with justice that he will rule the world and he will judge the peoples with his truth. Justice and truth – these will endure. And are these not simply part of the love with which God created all things, the same love that brought Jesus from the heavens to the earth and from the cross to the sky? Isn’t this the only thing that will endure: the love that we allow God to cultivate in our hearts and in our lives?

Today, even as we continue to build and to tear down, to work and to rest, to play and to pray, we might consider how much of what we do is motivated by love.

How are we filling that eternal glass of sugar cane juice today?

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