Remember when it was Christmas and you were waiting for gifts to arrive. You had looked all over the house for them including the attic, basement, and the trunk of your parents' car. Looking for them was all you thought of. You were sure that God was watching over you and was going to reward you.
Remember when you were looking forward to your birthday party and all of the neat kids from school were coming to your house. The cake was ordered and the house was decorated. All you could focus on was the party and all of the fun you were going to have. God again was going to make sure that your dreams of a good time were going to be met.
Perhaps you are getting ready to hunt deer this coming week. Your equipment is all gathered and the car is packed. You even have a new GBS system that is in your gear that you have just purchased. Surely you know that God was going to help you get that deer that you had dreamed about.
This waiting or anticipation is a good thing. It makes our lives interesting and exciting. Surprises and the need to feel like something grand is coming is certainly like being a small child again. These are the times you feel you are right with God and God is with you. Sometimes, however, just thinking about an exciting happening that is coming makes us stop thinking about the everyday experiences that are happening around us. It is not easy to be aware of the things that are around us and the people in our lives. We can be so focused on ourselves and what God might give us that we forget about ways we can be caring about others. Sometimes it takes a surprise happening to help us be grateful for what we have and not we might take for granted.
There have been many natural disasters this year: including Hurricane Sandy, terrible flooding, the drought that carried through almost the whole summer, tornadoes, fires and new illnesses. When we first heard about these disasters sometimes our first feeling is relief because we were not involved. Often we ask God to help the people going through these situations because we feel helpless when wanting to help. It is important to remember that God is feels badly and grieves when God's people are suffering. We may not understand why bad things are happening but we must remember that God never deserts any one. God will bring people home and be with the families.
Some people are beginning to talk about their fears that the end time is coming. It seems as if the world itself is changing in front of us. Others are talking about climate change and how the climate is bringing on floods, storms, heat, drought and global warming. My grandson was talking about the Mayan calendar and the predictions being made about the end of the world happening in 2012. Other people are talking about the increasing tensions in different countries and how weapons of mass destruction may be used to end conflicts. Just this weekend Israel and the Palestinians are shooting bombs and rockets at each other to show dominance and supposedly to find peace. When we see these ferocious times we need to know that God is with us and God is in charge.
In today's Gospel reading Jesus is telling his disciples that the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Jesus is telling his disciples that they should not be worried or full of fear. God is with them. God is with them. They should not fear. When we are waiting for an answer to terrible and frightening things, God is with us and will always be with us.
Remember when I mentioned about waiting for happy events and events that would bring us joy? God was with us. Even in the terrible events that we have experienced, God was still with us. We will be welcomed home to heaven, from whence we came and return to God's loving heart. We are here for such a short time. During this time we have to focus on what God wants us to do: feed the poor, care for the needy, love the oppressed, and give hope to the hopeless.
Remember the story of the fig tree in today's Gospel. When it is the right time the fig tree will sprout leaves and the branches will become tender. This is another way of saying that all of us are in God's hands and we need not worry. God is with us now, God is with us when we are waiting. God will be with us in trials and tribulation. God is always with us so we have no reason to fear.
While we are waiting for our story and our life to enfold itself we should always be at peace. Jesus is with us. While we are waiting for the anticipation of good news and welcoming joy, Jesus is with us. This means that we can be beacons of hope and strength to those who are hurting and grieving. This is a way to show other that they are not alone and that Jesus is with them. Look around and see what needs to be done in our families and communities. Our continuing peace and faith that God is with us will like a light emanating from us for all to see.