Meditation: Do you recognize the signs of God's presence
and action in your life and the world today? Jesus used the
image of a fig tree to teach his disciples an important lesson about
reading the "signs of the times." The fig tree was a common and
important source of food for the Jews. It bore fruit twice a year, in
the autumn and in the early spring. The Talmud (teachings and
commentaries of the ancient rabbis on the Jewish Scriptures) said that
the first fruit came the day after Passover. The Jews believed that
when the Messiah came he would usher in the kingdom of God at Passover
Let the fruit of God's kingdom grow within you
The early signs of a changing season, such as springtime, summer, or autumn, are evident for all who can see and observe the changes. Just so are the signs of God's kingdom and his return in glory on the day of judgment. The "budding" of God's kingdom begins first in the hearts of those who are receptive to God's word. Those who trust in God's word will bear the fruits of his kingdom. And what are the fruits of that kingdom? "The kingdom of God ..is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17). The Lord gives the first-fruits of his kingdom to those who open their hearts to him with expectant faith and trust in his word.
We do not know the day nor the hour when the Lord Jesus will return
again in glory. But the Lord does give us signs, not only to "wake us
up" as a warning, but also to "rouse our spirits" to be ready and eager
to receive his kingdom when he comes in all his power and glory. The
"Day of the Lord" will strike terror in those who have ignored or
rejected God, but it will be a day of joy and rejoicing for those who
long to see the Lord face-to-face. The Lord Jesus wants us to be filled
with joyful anticipation for his coming again.
The Lord opens he word for us - listen and respond
While we wait for the Lord's physical return in glory, we can know his presence with us through the work and action of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts. The Lord Jesus comes daily and frequently to those who long for him and he speaks tenderly to our hearts like a lover who whispers in the ear of the beloved. He comes to show us the way to our heavenly Father and to give us the hope of eternal life. Do you recognize his presence and do you listen to his word?
"Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of all history, and the lord of all creation. Give me joyful hope and assurance that I will see you face to face and be united with you forever when you return in glory."
This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager, whose website is located at: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/