Prepare to Listen. As you light the 1st purple candle hear the Lord saying to you: See, I am making all things new.
Prayerfully Read Luke 21:29-36
29Then [Jesus] told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 34‘Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.’
Redemption in Jesus includes future judgment that will right all wrongs and restore order, that is, justice, to a chaotic world. Jesus’ sermon warns us that there’ll be an end to the world as we now know and experience it. Making way for the newness of Christ’s redemption isn’t a game of speculating when these awful things Jesus names in this sermon will happen. Many happen regularly somewhere in the world. We make way for the new way of justice by heeding Jesus’ warnings: Be on your guard. Stay alert at all times.
Be on guard so that “your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life.” We may not be inclined to “dissipation and drunkenness,” but I think we all struggle with worry. We’ve all worried about the global pandemic, let alone our many and varied personal worries. Jesus doesn’t urge us to ignore them, but rather to be alert to what’s going on and, instead of worrying, to pray. Prayer, as Richard Rohr teaches, isn’t “a technique for getting things, a pious exercise that somehow makes God happy, or a requirement for entry into heaven. It is much more like practicing heaven now by leaping into communion with what is right in front of us.” Jesus is in right in front of us. As we commune with him we’ll find strength to endure the worries of life today as we patiently wait for God’s justice to come for all creation.
Reflect on the worries you need to guard your heart against so that you can remain alert to Jesus’ new way of Justice.
Respond to Jesus
Lord Jesus, give me the strength I need to keep practicing guarding my heart and staying alert so that I see you in front of me and persevere in prayer. Amen.
Live obediently. Guard against worry through prayer.
 Richard Rohr, Meditation for July 16, 2021. https://cac.org/a-superior-lens-2021-07-16