My Dear Sisters and Brothers! On the superficial level the Gospel for this First Sunday of Advent seems to correspond to Woody Allen’s perception of the life, or meaningless of it. Jesus recalls in the quoted passage the Great Flood and destruction it brought upon the Earth. At the same time he also links that past event to what is to come: the end of the world, or better to say the end of the world as we know it. The world which is corrupted to the extent of making even the liveliest city in the word, I mean our Melbourne, into a war zone. When it comes to the resources at our disposal; opportunities just around the corner; social, educational and financial support which is so imbedded into our society that we take it for granted, we should be advancing in goodness as individuals and as a community. However it is enough to watch daily news segment on any channel to figure out that something is slipping through our fingers. Using the words of Woody Allen’s words we could simply say: “We are all going to wind up in a very bad position someday.”
My Dear Friends! When I see another youngster who has everything, according to secular standards, to make a successful life throwing it away I cannot help thinking of that the filmmaker I mentioned at the beginning and his approach: “We live in a random universe and you are living a meaningless life, and everything you create in your life or do is going to vanish, and the Earth will vanish and the sun will burn out and the universe will be gone.” When asked why he still makes movies then he answered: “to distract people.” Maybe the increase in drug intake we witness these days unearths that fundamental void created by the secularists who pushed God away from the personal and social dimension. They thought that they would create a free humanist but what they have constructed is a black hole in individuals and communities, the black hole which petrifies people so badly that they need to distract themselves in order not to look into the abyss known as God’s absence in one’s life. For Christians life is full of meaning because God brings explanations and insights which free us in the way Jesus freed that woman whose body was permanently bent downwards. For years she saw only a bit of dirt around her feet. After that session with Jesus her perception of the world, life etc. was lifted upwards, towards God, towards the bright future God has prepared for us.
As Christians we are involved in the activities and issues which link us to the whole society but the difference is in what Jesus captured in the story of the two men working in the field: one taken while the other was left or two women grinding, one taken while the other was left. We do ordinary, daily things like other people. What distinguishes us from others is our faith. The Bible says that what saved Noah was not so much the ark but rather his faith. As I read, pray and reflect this dynamic Gospel passage we have this Sunday I see Our Blessed Lord promising us Salvation through our endurance and commitment to doing ordinary, daily things with the determination of doing them in God’s way. The value, beauty, importance of the things we do is anchored in how much those things are done in God’s way.
Woody Allen sees his “mission” as distracting people from their fright of the meaningless life they are doomed to live, from that black hole, that absence of God in one’s life, which consumes life, joy, hope and love. Christianity takes a different path. Christians turn to God who in order to block the abyss of that black hole has given us his Son, Jesus Christ, who tells us today to stay awake, to stay attentive, to stay attuned now and at the hour of our death. Only then the now and the hour of our death will trigger in us the prayer which the pilgrims uttered when they captured the first sight of the Holy City of Jerusalem: “I rejoiced when I heard them say: Let us go to God’s house. And now our feet are standing, within your gates of Jerusalem.”