I have never seen this part of the Gospel before. As a former Evangelical who maybe-sort-of toyed with the possibility of the Rapture, I only saw the verses that came right above it.
But that is for another blog post.
Today, I’m fixated on the last line of the Gospel Reading. A terrible image. Jesus said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.”
Lord, I want to know what that means? Can we continue this conversation a while longer?
Are You reminding us that, literally, where there are dead carcasses, the vultures will swoop in and feast? That’s rather morbid.
Are You suggesting that, figuratively, where the spiritually dead souls are to be found, there, too, will we find the vultures of the evil one? That’s rather sobering.
Are You reminding us that we live in a culture that is dying, a world that is already passing away, and that we must look to higher things … not the culture of materialism and narcissism and the whatever-it-takes-to-be-top-dog mindset?
Or are You talking about your Body? The Body of Christ. Though risen from the dead, we who are part of your Body are under attack? Is that what You are saying? Vultures will descend. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.
Live as though you have given yourself over to death in Christ so that the victory over death may be yours in the end?
For everything is dead and dying and passing away, and the vulture will have its day.
But those in Christ Jesus will be saved. The Resurrected One will be their Life?
I don’t know the answer to these questions. And maybe in the silent space in which we spend most of our lives after asking such questions of God, there is something to ease our fear and renew our hope in the face of doomsday rumors and realities.
Here it is:
St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls.