– Friday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time –
Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. (Luke 21:29-31)
Like the fig trees from Jesus’ day, today we have our own signals that tell us that summer is nearly here: Jacaranda trees blossoming, Christmas decorations going up in the shops, the temperature pushing 30C. These signals help us prepare for the summer: they remind us to plan a getaway, organise Christmas gifts, get ready for the new year.
Jesus was speaking of a time when the Son of Man would come again with power and glory (Luke 21:27) but, like Jesus warned us in the parable of the ten bridesmaids, we don’t know when this will happen and we should be ready for our redemption any time.
So, although we don’t know when Jesus will come again, we can recognise when he is near. We have our own signals; ways that we can recognize when we are close to God. It may be the feeling you get when you step into a church, or when you are partaking in the sacraments. People have spoken about feeling close to God when in the presence of people who would go onto be saints, and others feel that closeness to God when they are around the people they love. In these moments when there is great love, the space between heaven and earth can feel very small.
This Sunday, Advent begins. It’s a time when we signal as Church to the celebration of the birth of Christ. As you notice the purple cloths around church or the Advent wreath and its candles, also pay attention to the other signs that you are close to Jesus, and draw nearer to him each day.
By Nattasha Mierendorf