1As [Jesus] came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him,
“Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” 2Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.” 3When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, 4“Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. 6Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. 8For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.”
As parents we know that our lives are constantly in flux…
Change seem to happen so quickly. When I first became a single parent, I was frustrated by all the added responsibility. She would wake up early in the morning wanting to play, and unlike when I was still with her mother, there was no one to take turns with…it was always me, so sleeping-in became a lost treasure, but I did start off my days playing with my daughter and that was not a bad thing at all!
Then, as the sun rose, I would get her ready for daycare, picking out clothes, making breakfast, and watching Sesame Street or something on Nickelodeon, or maybe we would watch “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” or “Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang” one more time!!
Before long it would be off to daycare and then work, after which I would pick her up, and we’d go home for dinner, more play-time and then washing up and bed. On the weekends, it would be pretty much the same, except that we would wind up playing and watching movies almost all day, while I did my best to fit in grocery shopping, church and cleaning…
Things went on like this for a while, and after a lot of mistakes and a few temper tantrums (not just hers), I finally got to feel like I knew what I was doing! Then, she started Kindergarten, and things changed again, and they continued to change all through the school years, as friends came and went, activities like soccer and swimming, violin and guitar, were popular and then forgotten.
Then, just as I was getting used to the whole school-aged thing, she became a teen-ager and all that I knew was turned upside down!!!
During the teen years, there was little stability, which led to much turmoil in both of our lives, as things could change with each new day, making it very difficult to establish any kind a routine…so that going with the flow became the routine! There were many good times, and many bad, as well as quite a few mistakes made by everyone…but this was all part of the process! Some call them ‘growing pains’, but in today’s Gospel, Jesus refers to them as ‘birth pangs’!
When Jesus talks about the destruction of the temple, he is not referring to the end of something, but to a new beginning, which is why he compares these changes the pain of birth…for birth is not a time of ending but of hope, of new life and of new beginnings…and in order for something new to grow, change has to happen…in fact it is inevitable!
Change is often hard for us to face, especially as we are raising our children, something that takes up most of our time and energy, forcing us to learn how to ‘think on our feet’ as often there is little time to just get our bearings before things change again!
The good news for us today, and every day, is that we do not go through this alone. We are taking the journey of single parenthood with many others just like us, and if we are lucky, we will also have the support of family, friends and professionals for those times when the walls come tumbling down!
I believe that God works through these people, for as Christians we are called to be Christ to the world! With this help we can work together with our children to build something new, in place of what has stopped working, and may even have been damaging to them. Together, we can get through all the changes of our lives, and those that our children have to go through, and deal with the frustration, struggle and pain that can come with being a parent.
And together we can share the joy that comes when the tough times pass, and we can touch those moments of love and light that are the true gift of having children! Together we can also find the strength to let go, when it is time for our children to build their own lives, make their own decisions, and face their own challenges!
Let Us Pray:
Dear God, thank you for giving us help to face all the changes in our lives, and in the lives of our children. Please let us accept the support and love we get from you through the people in our lives. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be single parents and for the chance to build something new when the old has fallen. And we pray for those who feel alone, as if they have no one to turn to, please let them know that we are never alone, as we are all your well-loved children.