Because we live in the Christian virtue of hope, hope in life after death being the highest hope, with each ending there comes forth a new beginning.
Letting go of certain types of endings is very difficult. Endings that can hurt our souls to the core, such as another Firefighter’s family. Some endings can seem most unfair and unwanted, some. And, some endings will never be seen by us as being “meant to be.” And truthfully, I would agree with that. Like violence; it is never “meant to be.” Any form of violence is never meant to be in God’s plan, unless it’s the end of violence altogether.
We must remember that when God said “Let there be light,” the following six days brought forth the perfection of God’s creation through His divine imagination. It wasn’t until shortly after his prized creation, Adam, and then Eve while Adam was taking a siesta, that certain types of endings became difficult. The first broken relationship was between us and God; then Cain and Abel; Adam eating dirt all the days of his life because he ate from the disobedient tree, rather than eating forever the bread of angels. The pain of childbirth for women rather than the perfect birth of Jesus through Mary. Only a kidney stone can closely match the childbirth pain.
We take responsibility, I hope, for turning a perfect creation into shambles through the horror of original sin. It’s through that bad choice of our first parents that all difficult endings, from brokenness to death, are upon us. But, it’s also through the saving grace and power of Jesus Christ that all difficult endings eventually find a new beginning.
“There will not be left a stone upon another stone,” says Jesus: an image of destruction. “Many will come in my name saying, ‘I am he.’” False prophets who destroy and beat up the sheep. “When you hear of wars and insurrection.” Just look to the middle East, again and again. As well as other continents and cities. Wars and insurrection abound. “There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place.” Illness abounds. Even Mother Earth is ill, moving and bouncing these huge faults, such as San Andrea. But prior to all this unwanted violence, there’s the greater unwanted violence of being seized and persecuted, being handed over because of the sweet, innocent name of Jesus.
All these endings that lead to a new beginning. With some of them we fight and do battle. Others are thrust upon us beyond our control. When did any mere human ever stop an earthquake, or raise someone from the dead? Earthquakes, famines, and death are beyond human power alone to stop.
Most endings are not welcomed into our lives because of the confusion, hurt, and adversity they cause. We seek peaceful lives, lives where love and respect win the day. Where Christ is the center and all. Where his way of being in the world is fully revealed through us without having to judge others harshly.
As we arrive toward the end of Luke’s Gospel in the 3rd year of the 3-year cycle of readings, our Lord’s message is twofold: dependency and justice. Dependency when times get tough. When difficult endings are seemingly upon us. Our Lord’s message – a very strong one – is to draw into his life, into his world deeper, and allow him to calm turbulent waves that seek to drown us in those times.
Please note that Jesus makes no attempt at stopping the earthquakes, famines, persecutions, death, human brokenness, and such. They are going to happen. The less the better. Love will always lessen the bitter endings. But dependency upon his life and all its meaning is our path to a new beginning.
And as for God’s justice…. It’s never in the manner of getting even or revenge. Justice belongs to God the Creator. Divine justice does not seek to exact vengeance on his most prized creation, as much as we may like to think so. Divine justice will exact “vengeance,” if you will, on what caused all this brokenness in the first place. Divine justice will get even, not with us, but with our personal wars and persecutions through the power of Divine Mercy. Divine justice gets even with sin through the power of Jesus’ Cross. That’s how God gets even; through his mercy. How many new beginnings are realized in the joy of God’s forgiveness? And in ours too!
The kind of justice the Lord will perpetrate on all creation will be to renew all the terrible endings into lasting peace. I can’t wait for the day to come when there is no more war in the land where the Prince of Peace walked, suffered, died and rose from the dead. I know I’ll be in heaven by then. But it will still be good.
Jesus Christ is the firstborn of all creation. In him, we live and move and have our being. In him, all things were created in heaven and on earth. Except for all the bad stuff. But he’s going to place all the bad stuff in one holy hand, and transform it into all that is good.
The biggest step toward this has been taken in the Resurrection of Jesus. This is the hope that will lead all difficult endings into new beginnings. To God be all the praise and glory. Amen.