“Perhaps our greatest desire, often unexpressed, is to be at peace.”
There is an old story about a king who had the habit of dressing in a disguise, mounting his horse and riding out late at night to survey his kingdom without all the attention and panoply that usually accompanied him.
On his nightly excursions he would frequently see a man standing naked under a tree. The king would pass the tree at different times and different days of the week, but always he saw the same man standing under the tree in the same manner.
Finally he approached the man one night and asked him what he was doing. The man replied that he was guarding a great treasure which required constant watchfulness. The king asked what this treasure was and the man told the king it was something deep inside him, and the more he became aware of it the deeper he reached inside himself.
The king was so impressed by this answer he invited the man to the palace as an advisor to the king. The man immediately accepted, mounted the kings horse and made the king walk beside him back to the palace. There he lived in a state of luxury greater even than the king himself.
After a while the king began to suspect that he was being conned. Finally he confronted the man. “I found you naked under a tree, having renounced everything in the world. But now you live in luxury. What is the difference between us?”
“For the answer to that , O king,” said the man, “you must follow me.”
And so the two rode out of the palace gates and continued until they reached the borders of the kingdom. There the king stopped and said he could go no farther, for he could not enter the kingdom of another.”
“There is the difference between us,” said the man. “All places are the same to me, you have a kingdom, I do not. Wherever I stand, there is my kingdom. Naked I was, naked I am. There are so many trees, I can stand anywhere.”
It is said that events belong to God, how we respond to them belongs to us.
In today’s Gospel Jesus gives us many signs by which we will know that the “End of Days” is imminent. But finally He reminds us that we cannot know the exact day, only the Father knows that.
Even though it sometimes seems as if the world is in such a state that the end must surely be near, God Himself has told us that we cannot calculate the day or the hour.
But it isn’t really important that we know. What is important is that we accept God, and trust in him, regardless of the fortunes the world brings us or takes away from us.
Perhaps our greatest desire, often unexpressed, is to be content, to be so at peace with ourselves and our God that we can stand anywhere and be at home. If we choose life, and He who is life itself, we should not be apprehensive about the end. We can trust in the promises made to us, that if we live as the Lord has commanded us to, if we are always ready, we need not fear.
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
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© Lawrence Klimecki
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Deacon Lawrence draws on ancient Christian tradition to create new contemporary art that seeks to connect the physical and the spiritual.. For more information on original art, prints and commissions, Please visit www.DeaconLawrence.org
Lawrence Klimecki, MSA, is a deacon in the Diocese of Sacramento. He is a public speaker, writer, and artist, reflecting on the intersection of art and faith