Today’s readings span a wide range of human feelings…happiness, love, fear and courage. The common denominator is the coming of Jesus, which will elicit all of these emotions when time’s up and we have to account for how we’ve lived.

I love Luke’s advice in today’s gospel. If you read it out loud with the right intonation, you can sound like a drill sergeant on the first day of basic training:

“Pray at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to hold your ground before the Son of man!”—now give me 50!

 Well, life is like basic training—for theKingdom of God. And if you follow the world news, it seems like we’re nearing the end of hell week. Tension in the Middle Eastis ratcheting up over the territory dispute between Palestinians and Israelis. Then there’s the religious dispute, not only between Jews and Arabs, but between moderate Arabs and militant Arabs. Meanwhile, Iran and North Korea are experimenting with nukes.

 Aside from man-made cataclysm, the East Coast is still trying to recover from Hurricane Sandy, the West Coast has to deal with fires and earthquakes, and in the middle of it all is drought.

 If these aren’t signs of end times, then we’ll still have to find ways to get through all these challenges. Paul has good advice, and it’s a lot easier to take than the tough love of Luke’s gospel:

 “May the Lord increase and enrich your love for each other and for all, so that it matches ours for you.”

 But just in case, let’s be ready to give God 50 anyway.