“Are we there yet?”
I am sure that most parents and most children have heard the phrase “Are we there yet?” It is an amusing question young children ask as they travel far from home. Even as far as the gas station or store, or from home to a city far away.
Growing up, we have all experienced a “road trip.” It might be from here to Lake Pend Oreille or here to Boise. Sometimes in college, a “road trip” meant that we would spontaneously get in the car and travel from Washington, DC to Lynchburg, VA, just to spy on the swim team we were
taking on the following week.
Of course there are the more adult road trips from Boise to The Valley Club in Cascade, while on the way to the Forester’s Club in McCall. Or even to see Muzzie Braun and his sons at the Stanley Stomp in the Sawtooths. Stops along the way for any “road trip” may include the World’s Largest
Statue of Paul Bunyan in MN, “Salem Sue,” the world’ largest Holstein Cow in ND, The Montana Vortex in Columbia Falls, MT, the Oasis Bordello Museum in Wallace Idaho, the Badlands and the Monument at Wounded Knee. People also ask the Idaho Potato Commission: “Where is the
Potato Truck with the 4 ton Idaho Potato?” We don’t have to drive to that, we simply have to ask: “Is it here yet?” as it makes its 10th cross country trip to a town near you.
People have been asking “Are we there yet” for thousands of years. You can just hear Noah’s wife, Na-Amma, or his three sons and their wives: “Dad, are we there yet?” and Noah asking “God? Are we there yet?” Or all those people saved from the clutches of Pharaoh wandering in the desert. “Moses? Are we there yet?” and Moses asking: “God? Are we there yet?”
I heard a beautiful story of Joseph, Mary and Jesus fleeing from Herod as he prepared to kill all the children in Bethlehem under three years old. Mary asking: “Joseph where are we going? When will we get there?” And Joseph’s simple reply: “I don’t know. I’ve never done this before.”
All three readings echo the words of Joseph for faithful Christians everywhere. The Lord tells the people through the prophet Malachi that the Lord is coming in blazing wrath to destroy the proud and evil. People are concerned if they are the ones who will be destroyed for almost everyone had grown lax with their faith and were tired of the rules and duties at the Jerusalem Temple.
Malachi says God will also come like the Light of the Sun for the Good. But he honestly says – “I don’t know when. I have never been a prophet before.” And thus begins a very dark period for the People of Israel. God does not speak to the people or through the prophets for over 400 years! This is known to the people if Israel as the “four hundred years of silence.” The people are overrun by the Babylonians, the Medes, the Persians, the Greeks and Egyptians. And not a word from God about salvation. And so, the people cry out for the Messiah to come, so he will lead the armies of Israel to great victory and restore the Temple in Jerusalem. Even though they had forgotten, over the four hundred years of silence, the promises of Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jerimiah and Zechariah; It will happen! And
the silence says “I don’t know when because I’ve never done this before.” St. Paul is in Thessalonica. He preaches the Second Coming of the Lord, because he is positive that the Lord will come any day. And yet the Lord had not come by the time he wrote the Thessalonians, just 30 years after Jesus’ Ascension. Now-a-days, we take his instructions to heart: stay ready and willing to work for it. “God chose you to be the first ones to be saved. His Spirit made you holy, and you put your faith in the truth. God used our preaching as his way of inviting you to share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
As we continue the journey toward the Kingdom Jesus warns the people of those who might lead us astray. “Don’t be deceived by those who come in my name.” Take care because they will seize you, hand you over, you will be hated because of my name and some put to death. Jesus is saying what
may happen in the future. He also tells us what to expect in the present moment before the Jerusalem Temple is destroyed.
He warns us that nation will rise against nation, there will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues; Awesome sights and mighty signs from the sky.
I get asked a lot if we are going through the end times. What about things like wars and insurrections? It Could be Russia and Ukraine or even in our own nation. Earthquakes? The 5.7 on November 9th , 2022 that just struck Nepal, India, and China. Or the November 11,2022, 7.3 in Tonga and the tsunamis that followed. Famine? 345 million starving people throughout the world will go to bed hungry tonight including the 29 million children in West and Central Africa alone. And the plagues, how about Covid? – 635 million cases, among those, 6.6 million dead. Jesus says disciples must never worry about what they say when they bear witness, even though we may have never done it before.
People ask us – When will Christ and the Kingdom come? Even though it’s been over two thousand years and we still wait. It’s okay to ask God – “Are we here yet?”
Listen carefully for the answer, because it might be closer than we think.