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Finding a Way to Trust in the Future

November 24, 2020   Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs (Lectionary: 504)

Reading 1   RV 14:14-19
I, John, looked and there was a white cloud,
and sitting on the cloud one who looked like a son of man,
with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.
Another angel came out of the temple,
crying out in a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud,
“Use your sickle and reap the harvest,
for the time to reap has come,
because the earth’s harvest is fully ripe.”
So the one who was sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth,
and the earth was harvested.

Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven
who also had a sharp sickle.
Then another angel came from the altar, who was in charge of the fire,
and cried out in a loud voice
to the one who had the sharp sickle,
“Use your sharp sickle and cut the clusters from the earth’s vines,
for its grapes are ripe.”
So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and cut the earth’s vintage.
He threw it into the great wine press of God’s fury.

Responsorial Psalm   96:10, 11-12, 13
R. (13b) The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Alleluia   RV 2:10C
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain faithful until death,
and I will give you the crown of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Gospel   LK 21:5-11
While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

By Tom Kerrigan 

I am always on the lookout for signs that provide further clarity for the questions that invade my mind. This daily practice of mine has been ratcheted up several notches, as I have strived to find the silver lining amidst the fear, confusion and social distance during this pandemic.

Thankfully, one of the greatest signs of consolation in my life came in a unique bundle of radiant joy earlier this year. 

Just this past April, my wife, Gisella, and I welcomed our first child, Lucan Ignacio, into this broken, yet beautiful world. Those first few days and weeks of parenthood seemed--and still feel--surreal. As new parents, we are constantly keeping a close watch on our son’s every move as well as searching for the best advice or product to help him achieve his next developmental milestone.

Much to our disappointment, we have had to adjust our expectations and plans during these early months of parenthood. My wife and I have learned rather quickly that as much as we try to plan and prepare for all the worst case scenarios (messy diapers are high on that list!), we still cannot anticipate every detail. So far, parenthood has been a humbling experience that has oftentimes left us both feeling incompetent and unprepared to respond to the needs of our son. 

In today’s Gospel, we read about Jesus’ forecast of the demise of the temple and ultimately the end of human history, which is presented with much less optimism and far more fear than I am used to hearing from him.

In fact, this is one of the few times that Jesus seems to inject some sense of hopelessness into the minds of his peers and followers.

When I reflect upon this scene, I am immediately struck by the lack of trust that rises to the surface of this reading. These feelings of mistrust and lack of control for what the future beholds are palpable, as they permeate our local and national climate.

When I further consider my own role as a new father and young husband (pray for me, St. Joseph!), I have many moments when I feel uneasy or uncertain about how to react or respond to the needs of my son, Lucan--even when his gestures are as clear as day! I am quickly reminded by my wife, colleague or neighbor (my signs) that it would be unreasonable to think that I should have all the answers as a new father.

On the contrary, each new day presents a new challenge or opportunity for me to grow in wisdom.

When I introduce Lucan to new solid foods or ask his grandparents to watch him while I am working, I am being invited into a greater level of trust that makes me appreciate how difficult it must have been for God to give to the world his only Son. For it is my son who trusts and depends on so many family members for satisfying all his daily drives and desires.

In many real ways, this is the same patient trust that Jesus asks of us too, so that our own spiritual needs may be fulfilled. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Tom Kerrigan (JVC Cleveland 2007, JCU 2011) is a new father and committed husband who is grateful to be able to share a brief chapter of his faith journey with you. Tom recently became the Assistant Principal of Academics at Lowell Catholic in Lowell, MA. Tom and his wife, Gisella, welcomed their son, Lucan Ignacio, into this complex, yet beautiful world in April 2020. Tom enjoys sampling new culinary dishes (attn: Peruvian cuisine), playing frisbee golf as well as supporting his New England sports teams. Feel free to email at misterkerrigan@gmail.com.

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