“Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather." ~ Luke 17:37
The vulture is truly one of God’s most fascinating creatures. Resourceful, resilient and vital to the ecosystems in which they reside, vultures are indigenous to every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Under observation in the wild, vultures have been spotted dropping rocks onto ostrich eggs in order to break them open while also using twigs as a tool to gather strands of wool, which they use to line their nests. They also possess the sense of smell, a rarity for birds. As a matter of fact, many believe that vultures can actually “smell” death, which of course serves them very well in their pursuit of easy prey.
In the waning words of today’s Gospel (Luke 17:26-37) Jesus appears to be warning the spiritually dead, the “secular corpses” if you will. For those who pursue the fleeting things of a fleeting word instead of the fortifying, life giving nourishment of the word of God, their eternal fate is but a gloomy one....
Vulture bait to be precise.
Hearkening back to the days of Noah, Jesus explains to his disciples that history would in fact appear to be repeating itself. People were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage, right up to the time of the flood. When the flood came with shocking suddenness, they were destroyed. The end of an old world had arrived, but the inhabitants of that world were caught off guard and largely clueless. A new world was indeed on the precipice, but the prospective citizens were unprepared for it. History would appear to be rearing its foreboding head yet again as a chaotic 2021 is on the verge of bleeding ominously into the year 2022.
But how could this be? We all know that one day we will leave this earth. Yet it would appear that a scarce few live their lives rooted in this fundamental truth. Even the enlightened few, when choosing vice over virtue, oftentimes ignore this fundamental truth. Apathy towards eternity? Apparently so.
John reminds us in today’s 1st Reading (2 John 4-9) that “anyone who is so ’progressive’ as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.” Interesting choice of words in view of the fact that many of today’s influential politicians pride themselves on being on the forefront of the “Progressive Movement.” It would appear as though God’s definition of “progress” differs starkly from that of man’s.
We must develop a sense of urgency in patterning our lives after the Gospel, of adopting a spirit of living in the Kingdom of God while patiently and prudently awaiting the fullness of the Kingdom, Jesus’ second coming. It could be today. It most certainly will be someday. Pray for the gifts of wisdom, patience and humility. Offer up prayers of gratitude as well as prayers of forgiveness coupled with a genuine desire to repent and do better. Pray that you will grow in your love of neighbor. Pray that you will grow in you love and understanding of God. Pray, pray, pray.
On that note, I leave you with a simple prayer which prompts us to pursue God’s will and to humbly seek a life rooted in forgiveness and peace. For as our Psalmist reminds us today, “Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord.”
”Dear Lord, create in us a sense of urgency to do what is pleasing to you, to repent, to serve others, to forgive, to seek forgiveness and to honor you in all that we do.” ~ Amen