I know what the end times are like.
I know the feelings, the anxiety, the worry, the chaos, being
trying to keep my head above water, sleepless nights, restlessness.
Yes, I know what the end is like – the end of the semester,
I’m not that far removed from college and grad school, all
additional assignments, all coming at once.
Certainly it can feel like the end of our world.
In fact the only thing perhaps getting us through it may be Thanksgiving
just a few days off, where we can try to catch up or postpone
Talk about doom and gloom.
And yet, a light glimmers at the end of the tunnel.
Hope is there waiting for us when we complete our last final,
our last paper.
All of this, of course, is not exclusive to the life of a student.
We all have times in our lives where we believe our worlds are
coming to an end.
These are usually times of high stress and intensity, huge disappointment,
great upset, and despair,
and they can be caused sometimes by our own decisions,
by family members or friends, world events, natural disasters.
The more the people involved, the greater stress, unease, and
We think of things like illness of loved ones, divorce, 9/11,
Certainly, in each of these events, the world as we have come
to know it,
comes to an end.
We can psychologize it, we can rationalize it, but it remains
all too real for us,
and it has been part of our history since day one.
What we do with it, how we handle it, that makes all the difference
in the world.
That is where today’s Scripture comes into play for us.
We have what we call Apocalyptic readings in both the first reading
and the gospel.
Scripture scholars tell us that they came out of the lived experience
of the people of the time.
While we do not know much about the context out of which our first
from the prophet Malachi was written,
we can certainly see that there was a great concern about “the
Day of the Lord,”
the day of vindication and justice for the world,
and what it would look like for God’s People.
As we heard, “the sun of justice will arise with its healing
for those who have remained faithful to the Lord.
The people of Luke’s community, as we have come to know,
are a mixed Jewish and Gentile community
struggling to find and claim their identity as followers of Jesus,
apart from non-believers.
Had the temple in Jerusalem had strong meaning to them,
they would have had to reframe their identity after it was destroyed,
since this Gospel was written after its destruction.
In addition, they were already dealing with the fact,
that the Second Coming was no longer considered as imminent as
it once was.
Surely, all that they had known and thought to be true had come
to an end,
and so Luke wanted to refocus them
and to warn them of getting caught up in these matters
and concentrate and persevere in following the Lord.
We hear Jesus say, “See that you not be deceived,”
“do not be terrified,”
“not a hair on your head will be destroyed,”
and “by your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
Now, while it’s consoling to know that we’re not and
have not been the only ones
who experience our world – the world as we know it –
coming to an end,
what does our faith tell us, what else does Scripture tell us?
Quite simply, quite beautifully, both our faith and our Scriptures
that in these end times, while we know neither the day nor the
Christ is near.
Christ is present.
Luke tells us that, in these moments, “not a hair on our
heads will be destroyed,”
for God is here.
We believe as followers of Christ, that he is always with us,
both in the good times and the really tough times of our lives.
Our task is to look for him, to persevere, and not to lose hope!
And when we find him, show others, help them in their distress
to see the Christ present.
When we gather Sunday after Sunday for Eucharist,
each of us comes with a different story, or at a different part
of the story of life,
whether in its high moments, its low moments, or the in-between
moments. While we may all be at a different place, we share the
one bread and the one cup.
It’s significant that the actions before we eat and drink
are break and pour,
for our faith tells that when are lives are broken open,
when they are broken and feel like they are poured out with nothing
that’s the moment to share, that’s the moment of grace,
to experience Christ in a deep way.
Yes, we are in the end times.
In these times, let us eat and drink of the Christ that is near
us, within us and among us.