More fragile than glass
This paragraph may appeal only to those “of a certain age,” and perhaps not even to them….
We have listened to the Gospel and in it heard the Lord criticizing people who know how to examine the sky but don’t know how to discern the time of faith and the approaching kingdom of heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ himself began the preaching of his Gospel thus: “Repent: the kingdom of heaven has drawn near” (Mt 4:17), and his precursor John the Baptist began in a similar way: “Do penance, the kingdom of heaven has drawn near” (Mt 3:2). And now the Lord reproves people who refuse to do penance at the approach of the kingdom of heaven. “The kingdom of heaven,” he himself said, “does not come with observation,” and also, “the kingdom of heaven is among you” (Lk 17:20-21). It would be prudent, then, for everyone to take to heart the warnings of the teacher so that he does not waste the time of the Savior’s mercy, which is now being dispensed as long as the human race is being spared. For a person is spared so that he might be converted and not be damned. It is up to God when the end of the world comes, now is the time for faith. Whether the end of the world will find anyone of us here I don’t know, and it may be that it will not find any of us. But for each of us the time is near because we are mortal. We make our way between falls. We would have less cause to fear if we were made of glass. What is more fragile than a glass vessel? And yet it may be saved and last for centuries. And even if glass vessels were afraid of failling, they wouldn’t have to be afraid of old age and fever. We, then, are more fragile and weaker, because in our fragileness we not only fear all the falls that never cease in human affairs, but, even if falls don’t occur, time moves on. A person avoids a blow, but can he avoid death? He avoids things coming at him from outside, but can something born inside him be driven off? Now it’s intestinal worms, now some sudden illness, and later, however long a person is spared, old age will come and there is no way to delay it. (Augustine, Sermon 109, 1; PL 38, 636)