Body and Blood of Christ


Drinking Well




   Jesus said to his disciples: ‘”As it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of Man comes.  For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept all away. It will be like this when the Son of Man comes.  Then of two men in the fields one is taken, one left; of two women at the millstone grinding, one is taken, one left. 
     So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming.
You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house.  Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” 
                                                                                                  Mt 24:37-44

     I invite you to think about the days of Noah, and see what they remind you of.  The people were going about their ordinary lives, eating and drinking and minding their families.  Jesus does not say they were doing anything wrong.  Then suddenly and completely unexpectedly the flood came and swept everything away.

     The story might remind us of the tsunami in Asia on St. Stephen’s Day 2004 which caused the death of about 283,000 people in fourteen countries.  Or it may remind us of the hundreds of Africans who were drowned this year in the Mediterranean as they attempted to migrate to Europe.  We may think of people we have known who lost their lives in accidents on land or on the sea.  It may remind us of times when tragedy stuck, affecting ourselves or some one close to us.  

     These events bring us face to face with an aspect of life which is always there, even though we may not notice it.  That is, there are many things in life, over which we have no control.  Jesus offers a way of coping with this aspect of life when he tells his disciples how to cope when the world is coming to an end.  What he says about the end of the world in the future, is true also about the various ways in which we experience our own small world coming to an end. 

     Jesus says that when the world comes to an end, the son of Man will come.  When we face situations that come on us suddenly, in a way that seems to bring our world to an end, then too the Son of Man comes.  That is to say, some blessing comes, some good comes out of the anguish, some new beginning.  See if you have found this to be true in your own experience.  It is unlikely that it happened all at once.  When our world comes to an end, it may indeed take a long time to see any sign of a blessing or of new life.  Jesus assures us that tragedy, loss and death are never the end of the story.  Jesus died on the cross but he rose on Easter morning; the world will end but the Son of Man will come again.

Stay Awake

     Jesus tells us to do two things so that we will be able to cope when something happens that is like the end of the world.  First, he says, ‘Stay awake!’  Stay awake to the fact that we are not completely in control of what happens to us.   In truth we are completely dependent of God.  But we can depend on God to bring us through whatever happens.  We can safely leave ourselves and the people and the problems we are concerned about, in God’s good hands.  In my own experience this growth in trust comes slowly, and I sympathise with the man in the Gospel who told Jesus, ‘I believe; help my unbelief.’  Yet recovering addicts who follow the twelve-step recovery programme are keenly aware of these truths: ‘we are powerless over our addiction; God has the power to free us; we put our lives and our wills in his hands; and we find freedom from our addiction one day at a time.’

Stand ready

     The second thing Jesus tells us to do is to ‘Stand ready.’  Then when things collapse around us we are not taken off guard.  We are ready to do whatever we can do and need to do.  We are ready to endure what we have to endure because we believe and trust that the situation is not outside of God’s control.  
     Sixteen-year old Donal Walsh from Tralee won the admiration of the whole country in the final months of his life this year.  Fully aware that he was terminally ill, he desperately wanted to live.  It shocked and grieved him that some young people take their own lives.  He wrote to a local paper, appeared on a talk-show on television and made a video, appealing to young people who felt suicidal to look for help, to talk to someone they trusted; he assured them that there is always a door, and that it will open.  He stood ready – generous in his concern for other young people and sustained by his own faith and the faith of his parents.

Brendan Clifford

Prayer of the Prophet Habakkuk
Even though the fig does not blossom,
nor fruit grow on the vine,
even the olive crop fail,
and fields produce no harvest,
even though flocks vanish from the folds,
and stalls stand empty of cattle,

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord
and exult in God my saviour.
The Lord my God is my strength.
He makes me leap like the deer,
he guides me to the high places.



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