I hope when I was just proclaiming the gospel you said to yourself “Self, I think she is reading the same gospel we heard on the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary time. That one was written by Mark.” And I would tell you, you are correct! On that Sunday I talked about apocalyptic writings such as these and how that style of writing is not about history or prophecy. What the writers were trying to show their audience was the potential good that could come from a disastrous situation and how the stories always ended with a prediction of God’s saving action.
Let me repeat part of the gospel from Luke we have just heard:
There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the starsLuke 21
and on the earth distress among nations
confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will faint from fear and foreboding
of what is coming upon the world,
and they will see the son of man in the clouds.
Now, we know Mark wrote the first gospels, so is Luke plagiarizing?
In a word, yes. For the most part the gospels from Matthew and Luke follow the order and often even the wording of Mark. They each repeat many of the same sayings, sometimes word for word. Matthew and Luke however, each insert extra sayings and teachings of Jesus Scholars think Matthew and Luke each had two sources in common: the Gospel of Mark and another gospel, now lost, a collection of sayings known only as Q Let me be clear, the Q source is NOT Q-anon. About 65% of Luke’s gospel comes from Mark’s gospel
Mark wrote the gospel first, probably around 70 of the Common Era. Jesus’ first disciples thought he [Jesus] would come back in their lifetimes.
By the time Luke got around to writing, around the year 85 the original disciples were dying and the second generation of followers were beginning to think the second coming wasn’t coming all that soon.
They had to switch from looking at their faith as a short-term experience to seeing it as a lifetime commitment.
What they once believed to be just around the corner was now in an unknown future. The more time passed after the life of Jesus on earth, the more every succeeding generation needed to stay awake, stay alert, be ready.
So what does a dark sun and moon and people fainting have to do with us?
It’s a metaphor for what happens when we fail to stay alert to the signs of the times, when we sleep-walk through life, something St. Paul told us to guard against. If we’re not paying attention, if we don’t stay alert, the world will pass us by. We will not have realized the fullness of life, the possibilities of life.
On the other hand, if we are keeping watch, we can adapt and change. We can move on. We grow, and we create space to live our truths, to live in peace. Hmmm. Do we have any modern day examples of this gospel coming to life? Look around dear people.
I see us as people who have refused to sleep walk through life, who have refused to spiritually settle for less because we absolutely know there is more! We have spent years in an institutional church–which in fairness was important for a foundation, but then–we grew, and the institution did not. Not only didn’t the institution grow, they were intent on stifling our growth as well.
Rather than remaining miserable. We adapted. We changed.
We created a community of faith where we can be who God created us to be where we are free to explore this gift of faith together, in community where we laugh and love and belong.
In this new season of joy and hope, of preparation and a semblance of quiet, we carry on. If Jesus came back this very second and showed up at our door, he would see that we have taken his message and teachings seriously. We haven’t settled for the status quo, We haven’t blindly followed religious rules for religion’s sake, but what we have done is created what we need to feel whole.
We have taken Jesus out of this building as we have collected gloves and scarves for children, collected food for the food bank, collected toiletries for the Sojourn house, collected money for the Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault, held a blood drive and raised money for oncology research for children.
Our eyes are open, we are awake. We will continue to invite others to join us, to continue to help others, to continue to help each other.
I believe we of Holy Family can say wholeheartedly, come Lord Jesus, anytime, anywhere, we are ready! Amen!
Homily shared on Saturday, 27 November 2021, by Rev. Mary Keldermans.