Daily Reflections

Luke 12:54-59

A people dependent upon agriculture, fishing and livestock were adept, by necessity, at interpreting weather systems. Thus it was common knowledge in first-century Palestine that the winds from the west came from the Mediterranean Sea and brought rain and storms. In contrast the warmer wind from the south came from the desert and carried with it the hot weather.

Jesus makes the point that his contemporaries knew how to interpret the natural world but not the spiritual one unfolding before their very eyes. They did not realize or grasp that they were living through and witnessing events that would transform the world for ever and that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah – God’s secret kept hidden but pointed to by the prophets of Israel and now revealed. They could interpret the weather – and thus make provision for the practical aspects of their lives – but not the signs of the times – and thus make wise provision in spiritual matters. Clearly exasperated by them, Jesus exclaims: ‘You hypocrites!…[W]hy do you not know how to interpret the present time?’ (v. 56).

What are the signs of the times that we are living through today? How do we judge them? What is happening today that impacts our spiritual lives and the living out of the gospel? The positive signs of our times are many: an increasing interest in the spiritual realm, a new awareness of the need to reach out and help the poor and marginalized around the world, and a growing dissatisfaction with values which seek only self-promotion and self-gratification. The negative signs of our times are many also: the rise of materialism, consumerism, moral relativism, the rejection of the value of human life and the ever-growing secular agenda. Have we got our spiritual eyes open?

One of the great prophets of our age, Pope Paul VI, said:

‘The split between the Gospel and culture is without doubt the drama of our time, just as it was of other times. Therefore every effort must be made to ensure a full evangelization of culture, or more correctly of cultures. They have to be regenerated by an encounter with the Gospel. But this encounter will not take place if the Gospel is not proclaimed.’ (Evangelii nuntiandi 20)

Ephesians 4:1-6  •  Psalm 23(24):1-6
Luke 12:54-59

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