“Lord knows!” It’s a shorthand response when we are asked a question and don’t have an answer, or even a clue. “When will Joe stop smoking?” “Lord knows!” “When will my team win another Super Bowl?” “Lord knows!”
Luke shifts emphasis from “waiting” to “living”
It seems like Luke wrote for a predominantly Gentile community struggling under great pressure. They did not expect the persecutions of the Romans and the hostility of the “Chosen People”. Because of their faith, Luke’s community was enduring terrible suffering. They were anxious to see the end of their struggles with Jesus’ immediate return.
They did not understand what John the Baptist said! “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
In his Gospel, Luke shifts the early Christian emphasis away from the expectation of an imminent second coming to the day-to-day concerns of the Christian community in their world.
He does this in the gospel by regularly emphasizing the words “each day” (Lk 9:23; 11:3; 16:19; 19:47) in the sayings of Jesus. He is more concerned with presenting the words and deeds of Jesus as guides for the conduct of Christian disciples in the interim period between the ascension and his second coming. He presents Jesus himself as the model of Christian life and piety.
While we wait
What about us? We are still waiting. We are seeing so many things that felt secure collapse.
If Jesus doesn’t come back soon, what are we to think?
We are his presence among us even now. He certainly is already present when his disciples mirror his extraordinary acts like:
- caring for our brothers and sisters, laying down our lives for them
- challenging world powers to pursue peace
- raising a good family under stressful conditions
- speaking up to local and national governments for just legislation
These are just some ways we can practice what Jesus tells us in Luke’s Advent gospel, “Be vigilant at all times and pray…,” until he returns.
People will know the already-presence of Christ in the world by the powerful signs at work in his disciples. He instructed us to practice vigilance till he returns and be on the watch for ways to put into action the faith we profess here in church today.
As we wait, we shouldn’t be so overwhelmed by the daily stresses that we lose sight of Christ’s already-presence in our lives and what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters.
As we begin the Advent season, we ask when will
- there be less polarization?
- wars cease and military weapons be melted down to farm equipment to feed the hungry?
- When will Christ return to bring about the fullness of God’s kingdom?”
“Lord knows!” We do not have the answers to these questions.
We do know this…
If we all lived faithful lives of daily discipleship, we would be a powerful force for the transformation of the world. Would that hasten Jesus’ spectacular return? “Lord knows!”
But it certainly would show his already-presence with us. Sts. Vincent and Louise and their followers are called to embody this.
Our Advent Challenge
During these weeks will we look for ways to be Christ’s presence today?
PS In the coming year four out of five Sunday Gospels will be taken from Luke. He has much to teach us today.
Click below for an audio version of the Vincentian Mindwalk