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Signs of the Times

April 3, 2020

A weekly blog by Deacon Dan Wagnitz for the Quad Parish Community

Signs of the Times 4/3/2020

Reading the signs of the times is as old as humanity. We are experiencing the turning of
the seasons right now as greedy Winter begrudgingly yields control to an all-too shy Spring.
Signs of Spring came in a rush this year because my wife Michelle and I went to New
Zealand from 2/29 until 3/13 to get a jump start on celebrating our 40 th wedding anniversary. It
was just 8 degrees when we boarded our flight in Green Bay and more than a foot of snow still
rested in level spots. On the first morning after we returned, I was awakened by a raucous flock
of sandhill cranes. When I opened the kitchen window shade, I saw four robins in the backyard.
And during a after-breakfast walk to help clear jet lag cobwebs I saw redwing blackbirds by the
dozens. You never see a “first” redwing blackbird as they seem to always show up with plenty
of friends.

Of course, I know that some voices are pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic as a sign of
the times that the end of the world is near. Maybe. But as a people of faith we acknowledge
that we are already living at the end of the age and any morning could be the end. We have no
reason to fear as Jesus explained, “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the
earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting
from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of
the heavens will be shaken.  Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power
and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads,
because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:25-28)

From a Catholic perspective the Church began to focus on the concept of reading the
signs of the times during Vatican II. It is a deliberate effort to be more aware of and responsive
to the challenges of proclaiming the Gospel in a world beset with division, rapid change, the
influence of secularism and a technological explosion. “The present situation lends greater
urgency to this duty of the church, so that all people, who nowadays are drawn ever more
closely together by social, technical and cultural bonds, may achieve full unity in Christ.” 1
This time is a great opportunity to evangelize the Gospel by making a special effort to
stay connected with the Mass where it is live-streamed or recorded, pray together more as a
family as we spend more time “safer at home” together, be good citizens and follow civic
orders and guidelines intended to keep us all healthier, write a letter of thanks to first
responders and medical staffs, resist fear and only buy what you really need – leaving some for
others. We can use this time of social distancing to spiritually draw closer to God and each
other than we have ever been. God bless.

1 Dogmatic Constitution On the Church, Lumen Gentium


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