By JENNIFER BURGIN
Jesus said to his disciples:“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth."
As we approach Advent, the scripture readings take a darker turn. We read from the Prophet of Daniel about terrifying visions of beasts. Jesus warns his disciples about the heaven and earth passing away as the Kingdom of God draws near.
Today, some people believe the "end of the world" is happening sooner than later. Terrorist attacks, catastrophic weather events, cyber security threats, and unending wars -- such realities keep us in a state of fear. However, we should remember that evil has always been present. Human beings remain cold and calculating; selfish and sadistic; blunt and brutal just like they did 2000 years ago. The only difference is bad news travels instantly, thanks to the Internet and technology. What used to be a localized scandal is now a global one.
By now most people know that the famous actor Charlie Sheen is HIV positive. He contracted the virus 4 years ago but paid millions of dollars to keep it a secret. He continued to engage in unprotected sex with various women. Trapped by his life-threatening disease, knowing full well his surprise could ostracize him in the entertainment industry, he paid for silence. Now that his medical condition is out in the open he must live with the stigma.
Like Charlie Sheen, many people engage in risky behaviors and make incredibly poor choices. The "anything goes" mentality give them the false sense of security. They'd never dream of contracting a deadly disease or losing their fortunes. Moreover, they'd never imagine the effect their addictions would have on friends and family. Trapped by surprise these individuals are unable to deal with the fallout.
Do you ever feel trapped? Do you ever pray to God, asking him for a way out of the crazy maze? Do you feel like he doesn't listen? God listens! He drafts away your life's course with a delicate touch of an ink quell pen. But, wait! The scene hasn't arrived yet! Like a movie film the video needs editing. God notices you chose a wide, rickety path filled with boobie traps! He cannot always rescue you at a moment's notice. Perhaps you need to learn a lesson. Perhaps he has already provided you tools for the way out of the mouse trap. Perhaps he wants you to use your intellect to make positive changes.
I find surprises interesting. They keep life fresh and invigorating. Yes, sometimes surprises aren't so great like when a person is diagnose with cancer or gets involved in a car accident. Other surprises, like the announcement of a pregnancy or a new job offer, are dreams come true. Surprises make life worth living; God hands out baskets full of them, day and night.
As Jesus warns his disciples, we should remain vigilant and prepared when he does return at the end of time to judge. Personally, I do not see the end happening anytime in our lifetimes, so we can take that off our worry lists! Too much work remains in evangelizing the good news. Too many souls close to conversation. Too many good people alive who continue to carry out godly work despite unending evil.
Do not feel trapped by surprise. Life happens and it's not always so neat and orderly. All we can do is accept what the Lord gives us. We all experience small "end of the world" dramas when we lose a friend, spouse, parent or even a child. We must remain strong, turning to Our Lord and his Blessed Mother in humble and contrite prayer.
Advent begins tomorrow! Let us prepare for the coming of the baby Jesus by letting go of the areas in our lives which leave us trapped and vulnerable.
The rains continue to fall as the temperatures reach the seasonal chill. No, the Apocalypse is not now! Just another day, another hour, another minute, another second....Hearts continue to beat as the world keeps turning.
This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin. Please follow her blog: Jennifer's Spectrum of Spirituality