21st Week OT (R)
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
St Dominic Priory, NOLA
One of the symptoms of PTSD is persistent vigilance. Past trauma puts the body and soul on notice that at any moment something horrible can happen. Best to stay vigilant and prepared for anything. Over time the wear and tear of being constantly on alert can lead to psychosis and even heart failure. So, is Jesus asking us to risk mental instability and physical illness when he says, “Stay awake!”? No. Obviously not. But he is asking us to abide deeply and persistently in our faith. This means – at least – riding the storms of this world like unsinkable ships, confident that nothing can take us away from his love. The long pause btw the coming of the H.S. and Thursday, August 27, 2020 has been and is reason enough for some to give up waiting on his return, choosing instead to “eat and drink with drunkards” and beat the Lord's servants. And why not? If the Master isn't coming back anytime soon, why not abuse power; steal from the collection plate; step on others, climbing the church's career ladder; take advantage of the vulnerable sexually; indulge in a little extortion and blackmail; assist kings and princes in unraveling the moral fabric of the nation; or even work against the truth of the Gospel from the pulpit and altar? I mean, it's not like he's coming back anytime soon, right? Jesus says, “You do not know on which day your Lord will come.” I don't hear that as a threat or a promise. Just a statement of fact. We don't know. And knowing that we don't know is reason enough – or should be – to keep us faithful. To keep us riding these worldly storms. Cold, wet, scared; yes – but also absolutely confident that the last victory is his and ours.
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