I am not a big fan of scary movies. Even silly ones that are not well made I find problematic to watch. I get queasy and jumpy and uncomfortable when watching these - to much identification with the characters and their situations, I know: to much of an active imagination as well. But I literally jump in my seat when one of those silly movies do something unexpected. I carry those jumpy feelings with me, particularly when I am walking my dog late at night in the quiet and seemingly abandoned urban streets in which I reside.
When I read today's Gospel passage I get those same goose-bumpy feelings as I get when I am "forced" to watch a scary movie. Luke paints such a flamboyant picture of the end times: about desolation, and fleeing to the mountains, and vengeance, and woefulness, and violence, and celestial signs, and roaring seas, and people being afraid. We know that Luke wrote this Gospel after the fall of Jerusalem, so this is Jesus' foretelling of the fall of that great Jewish city to the pissed off Romans. But it is also something else. These scary elements, of a world gone mad, painted by Luke ends with believers standing up and raising their heads. There is hope here, for Jesus is our savior and we never need to be afraid. We can be brave in scary times, for all these earthly things we care about should not rule our life...being a part of the kingdom that Jesus is proclaiming is what should be the basis of our rule of life. Having that solid underpinning makes being brave in scary times much more do-able and bearable. Having that rule of life allows us to stand up and raise our heads.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.