And what I say to you I say to all – Watch!”
a consistent message
has its value
no matter how consistent
its ground of being
keeping a lert
in a golden cage
is still kidnapping
“Say” is used here to speak to a particular person or community as well as to teach something that can be broadly applied.
The Temple has been a key image in chapters 11, 12, and 13. If there is a sign to be given, this is a good candidate. In some sense it is too large to be a sign. It is the very water in which people swam and is just that usual, unexamined, and all too expected.
A part of our alertness is a continuing in a Wisdom tradition or Socratic examination of our lives. In a modern democracy this is translated from Temple to such touchstones as Liberty, General Welfare, and Common Defense. These are corruptible and all too easily become their opposite. The “abomination of desolation” comes to mean the assent of religious liberty over welcoming strangers, general welfare is rejected because of a fear of “welfare queens” getting something for nothing, and common defense becomes privileged by requisitioning all other resources away from education and infrastructure that would provide a more expansive tomorrow.
Watchfulness and alertness have increased their importance since the trinity of suffering, death, and rising made their appearance. How do we keep our eye on a restorative rising or a rising restoration without paying attention? It will be this rising that will bring any meaning of suffering and death to the fore.
“Watch!” has become the word (13:31) that will not pass away.
Every liturgical season needs this First Sunday in Advent emphasis. As the Western Church cycles through its telling of Jesus’ story, year after year, we keep coming to the final Sunday—The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe [Note: instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI, moved to its current location in 1969 by Pope Paul VI]. This Sunday points to Jesus returned when Love of G*D and Love of Neighb*r are in accord. Yet we are immediately struck by how far we are from such a realized eschatology. And so we Watch! knowing that Watching is an activizing word. Watch and Love.