I, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
The Lord's is the earth and its fullness,
the world and all its peoples.
It is he who set it on the seas;
on the waters he made it firm. (R./)
Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who shall stand in his holy place?
The man with clean hands and pure heart,
who desires not worthless things. (R./)
He shall receive blessings from the Lord
and reward from the God who saves him.
Such are the men who seek him,
seek the face of the God of Jacob. (R./)
Jesus said to his disciples: "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, 'It is going to rain'; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, 'There will be scorching heat'; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
"And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. I ell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny."
We must seize the offer of salvation that comes to us in the here and now. Some opportunitiess do not come a second time, when failure to act would mean losing our chance. Some graces belong to the "day" and the "hour." The moment of grace, the "kairos," is a favourite biblical term. Kairos is not just a moment in linear time (as the Greeks called chronos) but a very special moment with life-changing implications. The Kairos must be seized promptly, in order to do the will of God. The stakes are high, and not to decide is itself a negative decision.
In spite of conflicts both internal and extermal, this time can be a Kairos for us, individually, and for the universal Church. We and our leaders need to to interpret the present time and act for God with the same energy as the original Christians. Observing the natural virtues of prudence and courage, we must do our best both to practice and to share the spirit of Jesus Christ.
We often talk about the weather in Ireland. It's a useful topic of conversation when we have nothing much else to say. Our weather coming in from the Atlantic is so changeable that it varies from day to day, so there is always something to say about it. It has either been raining a while back, or it is still raining or will be raining before long. A while week without rain considered worthy of special mention.
The people in Jesus's time noticed the weather too. They knew what to expect from the direction of the wind, and so could "read the face of the earth and the sky." Sadly they were unable to read signs of the times. They failed to recognize that God was among them in a special way.
We too can be very aware of the weather but not so aware of how God is present to us. Jesus will be with us always until the end of time. The signs of his presence can be subtle and non-dramatic, but true and real. We pray for sight to see how the Lord is present to us, especially in and through those whom we meet in the course of our day.