At this point in the liturgical calendar, between the end of one church year and the beginning of a new one, the aura of judgment and the end times are reflected in the Scripture readings at this time of year. Smack in the middle of this year's liturgical transition is Americans' favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.
A visual image that combines for me these elements is the central mosaic in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. It's a massive image of Christ as Judge, wearing red, with red beams shining from His halo. The look on His face is stern and a bit unsettling. I remember seeing this mosaic when I was a seminarian in nearby Baltimore many years ago. I was stunned by the expression on His face and at first thought it was too harsh. As I have matured, however, the expression is now very appealing to me. I see it now as the expression of the Lord addressing Americans with His great admonition: "From those who have been given much, much will be expected."
These last few months with all of the financial turmoil provoke, I hope, a closer feeling with the world's have-nots. Perhaps as our resources become more constrained we may become more grateful for what we do have, and more willing to take on a sense of responsibility for those who are less fortunate.
If you receive this blog posting by e-mail, the picture of this mosaic probably won't come through, so to see it click www.fatherbillsblog.com and scroll to the 11-25-08 posting. Then click the picture and let it be today's meditation. Happy Thanksgiving!