Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
(Joel 1:13-15.2:1-2; Luke 11:15-26)
A colonial legislature was in session when a towering thunderstorm darkened the skies. The occasion seemed so ominous that some of the legislators, fearing it was the biblical “day of the Lord,” thought it would be best to adjourn the session and return to their families for the Lord’s arrival. The Speaker of the chamber, however, thought differently. He spoke up, “If it is the ‘Day of the Lord,’ then we will want to be found at work when He comes. If it is not, then we would look foolish for fearing that it is. Therefore, I say, bring in the candles.”
We find warnings of the “day of the Lord” in many of the prophets like in Joel today. They view it as the end of the world -- a time of judgment for which people must prepare by turning away from their evil ways. Jesus, also a prophet, gives a hopeful note to the “day of the Lord.” Besides judgment, he sees it as the moment of vindication to those who live righteously. It is not that the “day of the Lord” will be easy for anyone in Jesus’ mind but that rejoicing will follow for those who have been faithful to his ways.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke see the “day of the Lord” arriving with the crucifixion. The sky in these three gospels darkens, as Joel foresees in the reading today, when Jesus dies on Calvary. The first three evangelists are indicating – as John does in a unique way – that the cross presents the moment of judgment for the world. Those who recognize Jesus as the Son of God by his sheer innocence in death are saved. Those who cannot distinguish Jesus’ goodness are condemned. Of course, recognition here implies willingness to conform to his ways.