Rumors of Jesus’ Retirement False
Thoughts on the Second Readings by Joe Frankenfeild
33nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Christians often think that God raised Jesus from death into semi-retirement. When we say in the creed that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father we imagine him on sort of an extended Saturday afternoon watching football or working in the garden while we occasionally interrupt him for this or that favor. We assume that his remaining duty consists of returning when earth ends to hand out public rewards and punishments. The gospels give a different picture.
Mark, Matthew and John all portray Jesus as still actively achieving the Kingdom. He isn’t leaving those who work for God’s future on their own. Whether he sends the Advocate (his Holy Spirit) or accompanies us himself, Jesus labors by our side for the new world God promises. We accomplish our work not separately but in tandem with him.
What does it mean: we work in tandem with him’? It means that when we strive in a hundred small ways to make life richer and more harmonious, we’re not pointlessly dreaming. When we struggle for a better world for our kids and all kids: a world without killing and starvation and coldness, we’re not being hopelessly naive. Even though we occupy an astoundingly minute place in this universe, we have a roll in its ultimate destiny. While reality is vastly beyond both our imaginations, and our explanations of it are laughingly inadequate; human love, forgiveness and effort to build something good play a significant role in the Creator’s vision.
The demands of moving through life with such faith are often overwhelming. That’s why we rely so utterly on one another. We see now through a glass darkly, St. Paul wrote. Together, and with Jesus, we feel our way, inch by inch, toward a future guided by an unutterable love.