But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.
From our earliest days, immediately after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, we have wrestled with a conundrum: He will come soon! But don’t stop working.
Why do we work so hard, laying up provisions for tomorrow, planning for any contingency both pleasant and unpleasant, when the Lord may come before the day is out?
Inevitably the day passes and tomorrow arrives and we’re glad we at least planned for this morning’s breakfast; so when is the Lord coming?
Many people tire of this apparent foolishness. Some lay up huge stores for tomorrow, amassing fortunes which rob the poor of their just wages. Others live for today as if tomorrow will never come, wasting themselves and the patience of their loved ones on erratic, irrational behavior.
In November we recall “death and judgment, heaven and hell” and that we live continually in this state of hurry-up-and-wait. Although these are religious truths, they are more simply, the facts of life, something every human being would do well to understand. We were not created to know, grasp or control everything we want to know, grasp and control.
The art of being human, it seems, requires mastering that balance. There are dozens of similar balancing acts in human life; they all require confidence without certainty, wisdom without knowledge, prudence and daring, tentativeness and decisiveness. Even our Catholic doctrines, as doctrinal as they seem, protect the mystery without defining it.
The hardest thing we ever learn is how to walk upright, a balancing act that begins in that distant, odd arrangement of toes and proceeds through the ankles, knees, hips, back, shoulders, neck and head. Walking is our crowning achievement, (surpassed only by walking in high heels.)
The spiritual life requires a similar balance of flexible strength. And if you or I fall down periodically, as we all do, for leaning too far in one direction or the other, we have others to set us right. No one need walk alone.