Wisdom 13: 1-9
“It will be like that on the day that the Son of Man is revealed”.
At first, I thought that this Gospel passage is a bit grim. “I assure you, that night two people will be in the one bed, one will be taken, the other left.” Oh dear! I hesitated: how can I share something helpful about it? However, further reflection led me (after quite a while!) to consider the interplay of the past, the present, and the future, both for our human condition and in salvation history.
The past experiences of the time of Noah and Lot throw light on the future “days of the Son of Man” (the coming of God’s Reign or Kingdom), with urgent lessons for us in the present.
Apparently, the coming of God’s Reign may well just happen, disrupting normal everyday life. In the days of Noah people were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage. Likewise, in the days of Lot, they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, and building. At the coming of the Son of Man, our ultimate motivation in our everyday lives will decide our future. Those whose preference is to make their life secure instead of advancing God’s Reign will be left behind. Likewise, so too will those who cling to their belongings, or those who like Lot’s wife, turn back.
Jesus highlights a creative tension in our present and our future. God’s dream for us in the future gives context and hope for the present. Our present response gives shape to our future. Seeing Luke’s Gospel as a whole, what is non-negotiable for Jesus is our fidelity now to the Reign of God by “losing our life” in service of Jesus’ mission “to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour”. If this anchors our life and mission, we need not worry about our fate during “the days of the Son of Man”.
John McGrath is a parishioner of St Brigid’s Marrickville.