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Gospel Reflection - Weeding Life’s Garden

St. Francis of Assisi was asked one day as he was weeding in the garden, “What would you do if you knew the world was about to end?” St. Francis replied, “Continue weeding my garden of course.” The implication was that Francis didn’t have to rush around like a headless chicken putting his house in order. Francis was already living his life in a state of readiness, and he had no need to worry himself about the end of the world.

Today we are told what it might be like at the end of time. There might be wars, earthquakes famines plagues and Christian persecution. In fact it doesn’t sound too dissimilar to the state of affairs on our daily news programmes. Should we be concerned?

Jesus points to the end of history and declares that the future holds a time of reckoning. Like the disciples in today’s reading, we are tempted to ask when that time might be, only to be told that it’s something that shouldn’t concern us. We mustn’t listen to those who claim, “The end is nigh…” instead we must always focus on what there is left to do. The basic premise is that we should keep on doing right, regardless of the circumstances.

Like the people in today’s gospel who were so pleased with their temple, we are often pleased with what we build up here on earth. Jesus takes the opportunity to point out that everything man made will come to an end. We would be much better off focusing not on a material agenda but in developing a faith that will endure great adversity.

If we are ready for God’s final judgment then we shouldn’t be afraid of anything that is ahead of us. Global disaster, wars and earthquakes should hold no terror if we trust completely in God. Our lives are like a garden filled with good things we must nurture, and bad things we must weed out. When the end of time comes, we must face our mortality as Francis suggests, weeding life’s garden and living in readiness.