Aloha Friday Message – August 5, 2016 – Ready or Not

1632AFC080516 – Ready or Not

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Matthew 24:42, 44 42 Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

Hebrews 11:1 1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Luke 123:48b From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.

Aloha pumehana, ʻŌmea! It seems to me we just finished Easter a couple of days ago. And about a week before that, it was New Year’s Day. How is this possible, this sudden appearanCe of the first week of AUGUST??? As St. Marher said in 1225, “And te tide and te time þat tu iboren were, schal beon iblescet.” That is the antecedent of the aphorism “Time and Tide wait for no man.” We have no control over time, the power of ocean tides, the seasons, the weather, the orbit of the Earth, the configuration of the Universe, teenagers, politicians, or cats.

Sometimes I think we wonder if we have control over anything at all. If we take the fatalists’ view, we are doomed to whatever The Fates weave into our lives and we must blithely accept it and live up to our destiny. (“Luke, it is your destiny!”) No one and nothing is in charge of anything, so everything chaotically unfolds until finally, we die. The End. Time is just something that happens to us, and pretty soon, time is up and it’s over, because it is hopeless to resist. Resistance is futile. We will be assimilated. That’s just not a healthy attitude to take, and for eons, earthlings have fought valiantly against such despair. There are some who will say that this sort of innate hope which inspires us is merely a reflexive response to “The Great Unknown,” and therefore the causative factor in all forms of religion – from the pagan shaman to the theistic apostle. There is indeed something in us which brings about the necessity of the belief or emotion of HOPE. (← That’s a good one to reread.)

All three of the scripture texts at the beginning of this post come from the readings for This Sunday, August 7, 2016. The central theme of the reading is preparation. I’m not a Boy Scout, but I do like the idea of being prepared – well, as much as is possible in this whacky world of ours. There are so many crazies out there! At best we can “only hope” that we don’t enter their orbit and get caught up in whatever they are doing. That requires us to be vigilant, to be aware of our surroundings and the people in our sphere of living (which is pretty big these days because of “globalization.”) Jesus told his Disciples to be ready because his return would be at an unexpected hour. There are great passages in Matthew’s Gospel about that.

Matthew 24 and 25 are eschatological in nature – they are Jesus’ words about the “end of the age” when all of Creation will be convulsed and destroyed so that the New Heavens and New Earth will come about. His contemporaries were focused on the restoration of Israel to its former glory. They wanted their nation to be finally and completely freed of all oppressors and occupiers. They thought Jesus would be their ruler and the commander of the armies that defeated the Romans and everyone else who were not Israelites. That was their hope. Jesus led them – and us – to an even greater hope. Something Paul described as faith which is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. That is a great way to understand the idea of hope. You can stick a couple of different suffixes on that word and express the range of hope that earthlings experience: -ful and –less. We can be hopeful or hopeless. I’ve pondered the range of feelings and beliefs between those extremes, and there’s not much other than being or feeling hopeful and being or feeling hopeless. Hope is a form of trust that somehow our expectations will be fulfilled. We will receive what we long for – a thing, a person, an event, a state of being that we think of a desirable as the best possible outcome will be ours. We even believe that not only can hope be fulfilled, but also it can surpass our expectations. Hope is wonderful. Is it wonderful enough?

We have so many things we want in life and out of life. Like the Disciples, we want our enemies vanquished, our fortunes made and protected, we want what we want when we want it, and we wouldn’t mind if it came to us “with no strings attached.” We want to be the one who finds the treasure and gets to keep it. Jesus is OK with that – as long as it’s the right Treasure. Consider these two passages about treasure:

Mark 10:21 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

Luke 12:34 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

There is a special precaution Jesus gave us about seeking that treasure in Luke 123:48b which says From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded. As I have reflected on this, it seems to me that it involves two sides of HOPE – keeping and sharing.

We must keep hope – alive in our hearts and minds – or we experience the futility of assimilation into hopelessness. We must also share hope – and everything to which it leads – so that we do not stand alone in our expectations. On our own, hope is hard to sustain, but – as the saying goes. “Where there’s life, there’s hope. I want to reach into the past here and show you something I wrote years ago called

Circle of Life

Where there is life, there is hope.
Where there is hope, there is love.
Where there is love, there is integrity.
Where there is integrity, there is truth.
Where there is truth, there is justice.
Where there is justice, there is mercy.
Where there is mercy, there is freedom.
Where there is freedom, there is life.

Life moves on regardless of whether we are hopeful or hopeless; we just travel better when we are hopeful, and that hope is best and fullest when it is based on the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour. Why?

Luke 31:34-36 34 “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Matthew 24:36-44 36 “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39 and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42 Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

Ready or not, here He comes!

Now, that is something worth waiting for! Based on how fast life is flying past me (or am I flying past life?), it won’t be a long wait. I even have a great place to wait. Right here on the ROCK:

HopeRock
On Christ the Sold Rock (↔ Music Link)
-1-
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
Chorus:
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
-2-
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
-3-
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
-4-
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
In Him, my righteousness, alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!!

Share-A-Prayer

For FR – knee surgery coming up. Pray for guidance of the surgeons’ hands and for successful repair of an injury that dates back to a tour in Viet Nam.

Continue to pray for support of all our family and friends who have cancer and other long-term illnesses.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Creative Commons License
Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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