Bishop Thomas Gumbletonby Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

If someone had asked me to suggest Scriptures for this ceremony that we celebrate this morning when we enroll young people from our parish to receive sacraments of initiation, I’m sure I would not have chosen the lessons that we just listened to, lessons about the end of the world, the end of time, lessons about destruction and lessons that seem so frightening. Yet, if we listen carefully to these lessons, we can draw an important truth for ourselves and for the young people who will be enrolled today for the sacraments of initiation.

eac46f209bec7cddff380e048ac23ccbA few weeks ago, the Synod of Bishops in Rome took place. I’m sure all of us have heard about what was happening over there — all the discussions and the differences of opinion and the conflicts that broke out trying to discover what God is telling us today about certain issues. In this case, discussing issues about family life. There were great differences among the bishops, and still are.

People are surprised, “Hasn’t God, through Jesus, given us all that we need to know about how to live our lives?” The answer is no, not really. Jesus gave us some broad directions, but we have to keep applying those teachings day by day and one period of time to another. We have to discover new ways in which the teachings of Jesus, the teachings of God are to be applied in our every day life. That’s what we find happening in the passages from today’s Scriptures.

There’s a great difference in the New Testament Scriptures, especially, about those who thought the end times were going to happen immediately, that within their lifetime Jesus would return and the fullness of God’s reign would happen. There would be complete peace, fullness of life and joy, and the fullness of God’s goodness everywhere in every person. Others began to realize that no, we’re in an in-between time. We don’t know when it’s going to happen.

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