There was a mother mouse scurrying across the kitchen floor with her brood of six little mice in tow. Suddenly she came eye-to-eye with a very large, mean looking cat. The mother mouse was terrified! But she pulled herself up to her full height, squared her shoulders and roared at the top of her lungs, “Arf! Arf!” The bewildered cat nearly jumped out of his skin and, in the blink of an eye, scrambled out of the house, jumped the fence and ended up in a tree a block away. Then the mother mouse gathered her little ones around her and explained, “Now my dears, you see what I always tell you about the importance of learning a second language!”
Sooner or later in life we come face-to-face with our own version of the monster cat – with an event or circumstance that tells us that our world and life as we know it is coming to an end. The terrible possibilities are endless: terminal illness, the death of a spouse or child, rejection by our family members, abandonment by friends, loss of business, home and/or fortune, utter failure of our life's work. That's just the short list, but we've all seen it happen to people. We know what the Gospel means when it talks about “the sun fading, the moon darkening and the stars falling from the sky.” Oh, we know only too well!
So we ought to be concerned about how to survive when, inevitably, these things happen to us. Today's Gospel tells us: “We will see the Son of Man entering in grand style. His coming will fill the sky.” This means that when our personal world is falling apart and the bottom is dropping from our lives, we will get past the upheaval and understand that despite appearances, God is still in charge, still cares, still makes all things right for us– though in God's own good time, not ours!
Now what is it that helps us understand all this so clearly when disaster strikes? Faith! Faith alone! Faith is not some last minute grasping at straws, but a deeply ingrained habit of the heart that we build up over many years. What is it our faith-filled hearts have been telling us all this time? I hope it's something like this: “Gracious God, I know that You love me much more than I love myself. So I entrust myself to You. No matter what comes, I will keep entrusting myself to You. You are my Shepherd, my Love, my All.”
In the Scripture, God never promises to keep us from pain and suffering. But there is the guarantee that God's love will accompany us safely through all the trials and tribulations we experience. Your task and mine is to trust that God is faithful to this promise so that when our light grows dim and we no longer see the sun shine and the moon glow, we shall see “the Son of Man coming in grand style” – just as surely as we see each other here today – but so much more!