Did you ever feel God was speaking to you, that the coincidence that just happened was just too. . . well, too coincidental to be coincidence?
Could Sunday’s Gospel have been a coincidence?
Could those who chose our Sunday Mass readings years ago have known what the Western world would be feeling in the days after Friday the 13th of November 2015?
Or could God have planned the Gospel knowing we’d read it while still reeling from the worst attacks on the French since WWII? Could He have planned that reading for a time when we might be more attentive to our own vulnerability specifically to remind us to prepare for our own end?
It can be hard to believe in God’s plan when the world is so full of hate and anger, betrayal and pain, but maybe Sunday’s Gospel reading from the Book of Mark was planned for that day to remind all of us that we never know when our time is up.
As we realize that the majority of those killed in Paris Friday were under the age of 30 and let the reality of that sink in, we realize those victims could not have imagined their end was near, and the timing of this particular Gospel seems beyond coincidence.
It is a reminder to each of us that we don’t know when our time on earth will end, a reminder that one day we will get no more second chances.
Part of Friday’s tragedy is that we often expect fool’s mistakes in our young. We expect them to get a second chance, to become faith-filled tomorrow.
We expect tomorrow to come, perhaps decades down the road, but it will come someday.
But for 129 Parisian victims (at last count)
tomorrow will never be here.
For 129 victims, time is up.
They were victims who could not have woken up that morning knowing they would not climb into bed that night.
They could not have savored their last morsel, thinking it would be like their last supper.
They could not have known, when walking through those doors to the restaurants, the stadium, the concert halls, that that moment of fun would be their final entertainment.
They could not have said good-bye one last time knowing it would be their last farewell.
They could not know their time had come.
We cannot know when our time will come.
But we know it will.
The Lord tells us to be watchful. In every hour, on every day, to be awake, to not get caught sleeping.
We have to wonder how many of those who died were in a state of Grace,
and how many counted on tomorrow to find their faith.
We have to wonder how many of us are in a state of Grace,
and how many of us count on tomorrow.
The Lord says very clearly in Sunday’s Gospel,
“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.”
We wonder whether those young people knew the Lord, but in our wondering leave judgement to God and look at ourselves instead. For even among the faithful, the Lord Hopes for more than we give.
In Luke Chapter 12, we find accounts similar to those in Mark. We again see the call to be watchful, to not let the master catch his servants unaware, to not count on tomorrow, and we see a call specifically to believers in verse 48,
“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much,
and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
The Lord knows every detail of the lives of those killed in Friday’s attacks, just as He knows every detail of our lives. He will judge the young victims according to His understanding, not ours, just as He will judge us according to His standards, not ours.
So, while it is easy to say we are saved because of Christ’s Love for us and our belief in Him, and while I know this to be true, I also know that precisely because of our belief more is expected of us.
The Lord expects more of me in my job, my play, my socializing both in person and online.
He expects more of me in my relationships, with my children, my parents, my family, my friends.
He expects more of me in my voting, my volunteering, my caring for the world He created, and most especially for His precious, voiceless children.
He expects more of me in the honor and glory I give in my prayer, my Adoration, my meditation on each verse of the Scriptural Rosary, my Bible reading, my immersion in the Mass, and in my submission to His will over my own.
We do not know when our time will come. We must seize the day, not to celebrate as the world sees it, but to live Joyfully for the Lord for the celebration that will come.
It is painful to write, more painful to dwell on, but I wonder how many of those who died suddenly are now at the feet of God, asking to return, as the rich man did in Luke Chapter 16, to warn those left behind.
They cannot return, but their lives and deaths serve as a warning to us and we must not let their passing be in vain.
Live each day like it is your last. Do the hard stuff. Love even your enemies. Spend time with the Lord. Offer forgiveness because you are forgiven. Start each day thankful and willing to make a fresh start, thankful for your second chance.
Live each day like you WILL meet your Judge – because you will.
And much is expected of those who believe.
For the sake of His sorrowful passion,
Have Mercy on us and on the whole world.
Please join your prayer to ours for the souls lost due to terror in Paris but also around the world
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord.
And let perpetual Light shine upon them.
May they rest in Peace.
May their souls and all the souls
of the Faithful departed, rest in Peace.
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