Luke 21: 34-36
End-times! Today is the last day of the present liturgical year. It has not come upon us suddenly: for a while now, the readings have had an ominous note, a kind of foreboding. The last few weeks readings sound less like words from the Gospel and more like a segment on the evening news. Natural disasters, war, violence, and the seemingly endless pandemic can make it easy to despair. The catastrophic happenings around the world coupled with these readings may make any ardent believer wonder at times! I have had a few young people ask me recently about the end of the world and Jesus’ second coming.
In the bleary and bleak days after the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, parents, and teachers repeated Fred Rogers’s famous line in response to scary situations, which he attributed to his mother. “Look for the helpers,” they said, altering fearful children (and ourselves as well) to the plethora of first responders, volunteers, and professional helpers on the scene. Even in circumstances unfathomably painful, this tiny phrase provided comfort to anxious children. In the weeks following that horrific day, children saw helpers everywhere. Children spied police officers, nurses, and volunteers who had previously blended into the woodwork of everyday living. These helpers had been there all along, but children were now trained to seek them out, to find their calming faces in times that were uncertain and shifting.
Perhaps today’s passage provides the same message, ‘Look to helpers. We are extremely fortunate that we are surrounded by so many helpers, who live not by seeking signs of the future or despair by signs of the moment but by raising up signs of conscience, calling for peace, justice, reconciliation in the name of Jesus. Their work will continue assuring of God’s comfort amid uncertainties. Calling for an end to things so that we have new beginnings. “Look to helpers”.
Giltus Mathias CP is a member of the St.Brigid’s Community Marrickville.