Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

(Romans 7:18-25a; Luke 12:54-59)

“Red sky in the morning: sailors, take warning….” Seamen have used this rhyme or similar words for 2,000 years to predict the weather. Stormy days are forecasted when the morning sky is red because 1) high pressure in the east causes dust particles to collect at a low altitude and refract sunlight in the red range and 2) the high pressure system is followed by low pressure with storm clouds moving in from the west. It sounds rather complicated, no? But this is the point Jesus is making in the gospel today. If people can figure out the meaning of a red sky, they should consider the signs of another, more important, kind of storm. He is referring to judgment day which is approaching with his death.

When he mentions the need to settle with one’s opponent, Jesus is again warning the people to prepare for judgment. They should realize that if they go before the divine court claiming innocence, God -- who will be both their opponent and judge -- will surely convict them of wrong-doing. Jesus advises that it would be far better to reconcile with God now.

It may be hard for some of us who attend mass or who read Scripture daily to identify ourselves in this reading. Perhaps we notice that Jesus is addressing himself to the crowds and not to his disciples. Yet all of us at times find ourselves at odds with what we know to be true. Jesus is urging us as well, then, to recognize our sinfulness and to ask forgiveness.