The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Do you recognize the signs of God’s presence and action in your life and the world today? Jesus used the image of a fig tree to teach his disciples an important lesson about reading the “signs of the times.” The fig tree was a common and important source of food for the Jews. It bore fruit twice a year, in the autumn and in the early spring. The Talmud (teachings and commentaries of the ancient rabbis on the Jewish Scriptures) said that the first fruit came the day after Passover. The Jews believed that when the Messiah came he would usher in the kingdom of God at Passover time.
Let the fruit of God’s kingdom grow within you
The early signs of a changing season, such as springtime, summer, or autumn, are evident for all who can see and observe the changes. Just so are the signs of God’s kingdom and his return in glory on the day of judgment. The “budding” of God’s kingdom begins first in the hearts of those who are receptive to God’s word. Those who trust in God’s word will bear the fruits of his kingdom. And what are the fruits of that kingdom? “The kingdom of God ..is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). The Lord gives the first-fruits of his kingdom to those who open their hearts to him with expectant faith and trust in his word.
We do not know the day nor the hour when the Lord Jesus will return again in glory. But the Lord does give us signs, not only to “wake us up” as a warning, but also to “rouse our spirits” to be ready and eager to receive his kingdom when he comes in all his power and glory. The “Day of the Lord” will strike terror in those who have ignored or rejected God, but it will be a day of joy and rejoicing for those who long to see the Lord face-to-face. The Lord Jesus wants us to be filled with joyful anticipation for his coming again.
The Lord opens he word for us – listen and respond
While we wait for the Lord’s physical return in glory, we can know his presence with us through the work and action of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts. The Lord Jesus comes daily and frequently to those who long for him and he speaks tenderly to our hearts like a lover who whispers in the ear of the beloved. He comes to show us the way to our heavenly Father and to give us the hope of eternal life. Do you recognize his presence and do you listen to his word?
“Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of all history, and the lord of all creation. Give me joyful hope and assurance that I will see you face to face and be united with you forever when you return in glory.”
BLACK FRIDAY OR GOOD FRIDAY?
“The heavens and the earth will pass away, but My words will not pass.” —Luke 21:33
In the USA, the day after Thanksgiving is known as “Black Friday,” and is one of the busiest shopping days of the entire year. Consumers flock to shopping malls in great throngs, looking for the best deals, hurrying from store to store to buy Christmas gifts for everyone on their list. At times the Black Friday atmosphere is so intense that people get manhandled in the frenzied rush to buy. However, the consumeristic secular culture is a “beast” (see Dn 7:7) which continually devours people who might otherwise prepare their hearts for Jesus during the time of Advent.
For Christians, every Friday is a reminder of Good Friday, the day when Jesus was crucified, bled, and died for our salvation. Jesus gave His life so that we may have life; He Who did not know sin took on the punishment of our sins so we could take on the holiness of God (2 Cor 5:21).
Shopping malls and “holiday” parties will pass away, as well as the earth, stars, and sky, but Jesus’ words will never pass away (Lk 21:33). “Why spend your money” for what will not last, “your wages for what fails to satisfy?” (Is 55:2) “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rm 12:2). Let Jesus transfer you from Black Friday to Good Friday. Spend your time on what will not pass away.
Prayer: Father, I know I cannot be attentive both to the things of this world and to You (Mt 6:24). Help me to choose Jesus today. Promise: “Know that the reign of God is near.” —Lk 21:31 Praise: Jane experienced a profound renewal of the Holy Spirit when she began attending daily Mass. (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements