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Clouds by Day, and Fire by Night

by | Nov 9, 2021 | Formation, Reflections

Jesus, our Shepherd, leads us along the right path.  He spreads clouds as cover and fire to light up the night.  He wants us to hope, not to fear.

Today’s gospel speaks about signs in the sun, the moon and the stars.  They show that the Son of Man will come soon in the clouds with great power and glory.

No doubt, these signs frighten and distress us.  But for fear and anguish to to take hold of us wholly will mean to fail to read correctly the signs (see GS 14).  It will be not to know clouds at all.  Or love, or life, with its joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries (Ecl 3, 1-12).  For the signs point in the end to courage and hope, since Jesus will show up soon.

Yes, clouds suggest darkness, distress and despair (Ez 30, 3; Jl 2, 2; Zeph 1, 15).  But if we look carefully, we will see a silver lining in the darkest cloud.  In other words, there are blessings in disguise; God writes straight with crooked lines; see also).

In fact, God uses clouds, darkness, to shield those who are his own (Ex 13, 21; Ps 105, 39; Mt 2, 14).  And to show his glory and power (Ex 16, 10; Job 37 and 37).  These and other manifestations or theophanies lead the Israelites, in awe and trembling, to worship God (Ex 19, 9. 16).

And if the clouds of distress are due to our unfaithfulness, then we should call to mind God’s faithfulness.  It reaches to the clouds (Ps 36, 6), though our love quickly fades as the morning cloud (Hos 6, 4).

Like the rain clouds

So, even in darkness shine rays of light and hope.  And it is our duty as followers of Jesus Christ to be such rays.  For, though we know darkness or night, we are not of it, but of the light, of the day (1 Thes 5, 5).

Ours, then, is the calling to be wise and just.  In that way, we shall shine brightly like the heavens and like the stars forever.  And our mercy will be like the clouds that bring the spring rain (Prov 16, 15; Sir 35, 26).  Also, like the bow in the clouds, we will be signs of the covenant of mercy (Gen 9, 13).  Like the clouds, besides, we shall obey and bless God and spread his words (Dn 3, 73; Bar 6, 61).

And all this means to live like Jesus Christ, so as to die like him (SV.EN I:276) and go up to heaven in a cloud (Rev 11, 12).  Of course, to die like him implies to give up the body and shed blood for others.  To share in the one sacrifice he offers for all time, since only his worship and his priesthood matter.

Lord Jesus, your mother stands near the cross.  Through her prayers, let us look at you on the cross closely, long and lovingly.  Give us strength, hope and courage when we see dark clouds.

14 November 2021
33rd Sunday in O.T. (B)
Dn 12, 1-3; Heb 10, 11-14. 18; Mk 13, 24-32

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