Memorial of Edmund Campion, S.J., Robert Southwell, S.J., and Companions, Martyrs

Frederick Buechner, a Presbyterian minister, captures well the Christian conviction during troubled times.  He writes, “The worst isn’t the last thing about the world. It’s the next to the last thing. The last thing is the best. It’s the power from on high that comes down into the world, that wells up from the rock-bottom worst of the world like a hidden spring. Can you believe it? The last, best thing is the laughing deep in the hearts of the saints, sometimes our hearts even. Yes. You are terribly loved and forgiven. Yes. You are healed. All is well.”

My favorite line is that the worst thing is not the last thing.  The line is an echo of the pattern we see in Jesus’ life.  His suffering and death on the cross is not the last thing.  The last thing for Jesus is the resurrection.  The last thing for Him is new life.  If we are experiencing the worst thing, then our faith informs us to not assume it is the last thing to come to us.  New life in God’s love is on its way.

As our readings today continue on the theme of the end times, we get to ponder that even the end times are not the true end.  They are the thing next to the ultimate end, the whole world’s union with God.  The image Jesus mentions about the trees budding is instructive.  We are waiting to see what the world will blossom into after bursting out of its buds.  We are waiting to see the new life comes to all of us when we let go of our ego-centered ways and cling to God and His goodness.  Jesus’ resurrection is the first blossom.  We wait for the resurrection of all who have died.  While we wait, let us pray that we may recount and be grateful for the new life that God brings in our lives after enduring the worst thing we have experienced.  We pray that God confirm our faith in Him as he saves us from the worst thing being the last thing about our lives.

What is the worst thing you have experienced in your life?  Did it feel as if it was the last thing in your life?  Where have you felt God’s life flow into you from the worst thing you have experienced?

December 1st, 2017