Luke 17: 26-37 Shocked
“They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day… the flood came and destroyed them all.”
I truly have a beautiful ministry. I work with the youth all the time and it gives me an opportunity to convey to them what I never heard as a child. All I heard while attending school and going through CCD classes in the evening was how special I was (and everyone else); all the wonderful things I would do in my life; and how I had what it took to realize all my dreams. Of course there is nothing wrong with pipe dreams. But as a cynical teenager boy, I didn’t really believe in any of it. I believed in war, survival of the fittest and only the tough survive. Of course working for the Lord was never brought up or mentioned as a possibility. Many careers were mentioned, but never being a priest. So I truly enjoy ministering to the youth. I love them and I hope they love me too.
Recently, not too long ago, I told a group of teenagers that they were all dying. They looked shocked! But once the initial shock was over, they understood perfectly well what I was saying. It is just that teenagers do not consider themselves as dying. They consider the elderly dying. But they look at themselves all too much and they know themselves all too well. They think they are strong when they are not. They think they are tough when they are not. And what surprises them more than anything else is when one of their peers dies before them.
I still remember the day I took my High School graduation picture. There we were, all of us in front of the camera. We were the largest graduating class, the baby boomers had finally grown up. We were over one hundred students, with big smiles and expecting to be “free at last” from the "slavery" of our parents and ready to conquer the world in just a few hours. How silly we were to think those were the toughest years of our life!
A few weeks later, I remember looking at our picture with some friends and, for some strange reason, asking them a weird question. Guys, who you think will die first? It didn’t take us long to find out. Almost immediately, a young man named Bob Wheeler died in a motorcycle accident. He had just received it. It was his parent's graduation gift to him.
So too, the day will come when I am brought up to the Lord. I pray that I will not be surprised but be prepared. Allow me Lord to examine my life before you do and ask the questions that I know will be asked of me: What did I do? What could I have done? What did I fail to do? Who did I place my life, my trust, my faith in? Who did I listen to? Who did I receive?
No one likes to answer questions. But questions should not be feared, for the Lord gave us the answers to the most important questions. Who are you? A beautiful gift from God. What must I do? Love. St John in his second letter tells us, “For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments.” And it is not a new commandment. In fact, it is the one we received from the very beginning: let us love one another. (2Jn 4-9)
The One who created us gave us his heart. For this reason, “our hearts are restless until they rest with Thee.” For this reason I will never be satisfied until I am free to give it all. “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.”
We know what the Lord demands from us. Let us never be shocked by what is to come.