About Friar Musings

Franciscan friar and Catholic priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in downtown Tampa, FL.

Behind the Veil: admonishment

34 “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise 35 like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. 36 Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

A Final Admonishment. After describing the days of the coming of the Son of Man, Jesus warns his followers that proper conduct is always expected – not just carousing and drunkenness (and such things) but even preoccupation with the anxieties represented by the “thorns” in the parable of the sower (8:14). These pressures of daily life lull people into false security. The exhortation to watch and pray foreshadows the same appeal during Jesus’ agony in the garden (22:46). Continue reading

Behind the Veil: signs

25 “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”

Only Luke uses the word “signs” in this section. The same word was used earlier in the question “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” (Luke 21:7) and “…There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky”(v.11). Perhaps one remembers that Jesus’ opponents “to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven” (11:16). A little later Jesus responds to this request: “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.” (11:29-30) Continue reading

Behind the Veil: more context

25 “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand……”34 “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise 35 like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. 36 Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Context in Scripture. This reading is taken from Luke’s gospel just following Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Jesus’ confrontation with the authorities in the Temple (which began back at 19:47, the cleansing of the Temple) now shifts to the future tense. This extended section (19:47–21:38) concerns

  • the coming persecutions and the destruction of the Temple (21:5–19),
  • the destruction of Jerusalem (21:20–24), and
  • the coming of the Son of Man (21:25–36) – our Sunday gospel.

Continue reading

Behind the Veil: context

25 “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”[ 29 He taught them a lesson. “Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. 30 When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; 31 in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.] 34 “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise 35 like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. 36 Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:25–36;  Sunday’s Gospel: Luke 21:25-28, 34-36)
Continue reading

Choosing your world

 “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.’” (John 18:36)

I suspect that for most of my life, I have understood Jesus’ words as saying, my kingdom is not in this world, but is in the next; not a matter of earthly concerns, but of heavenly ones. In other words, all this will pass away, and, in the end, there will only be heaven. But then Scripture promises a new heaven and new earth… Turns out the Greek word used, kosmos, include our traditional understanding of heaven and earth …. hmmm. What to make of “does not belong to this world?” Continue reading

King of Kings

If you are reading this you have successfully navigated Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and holiday travel. You’re doing great! And I know you will do great navigating Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, and all that comes with the holiday season. Here in the betwixt and between we celebrate Christ the King Sunday. What should this solemnity mean in your life?

After all, the word “king” conjures up many things in the American mind. I suspect if I asked most people, “Who is the King?” the answer might well come back “Elvis.” There is just part of us that lives in a pop-culture world. But then the idea of king is rich in the heritage of our literature, movies and imagination: Richard the Lionhearted, Henry V giving the “band of brothers” soliloquy on the fields of Agincourt, Louis King of France, the original namesake of our parish, and all the modern royal family of England. Still, we fought a Revolutionary War to no longer bow before English monarchs. I always wonder if that is, in some part, what contributed to the origin of “Who died and made you king?” Yet we remain fascinated by kings and queens. Continue reading

How much longer?

How much longer? It is easy to understand how it would be the question for people “In those days after that tribulation [when] the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.”  It is not a stretch to imagine how in the midst of such terrible days, even the faithful people will lament, “How much longer?”

It’s certainly not a new question. In fact, it’s one that has lingered in the minds of people throughout all history. Adam and Eve…. how much longer do we live in shame? Noah…. till I find dry land and a new start? Abraham and Sarah…. till we have a family to call our own? Moses and Aaron…. till we reach the promised land? The question is repeated throughout salvation history. “How much longer” is a question belonging to anyone who simply longs to be redeemed. It’s for anyone who wants a complete life in an incomplete world. Continue reading