Some years ago I had the opportunity to visit a weather tracking station. The equipment was fabulously expensive and complex and much more sophisticated than the methods used to forecast the weather in first century Palestine. Meteorologists can now track storms that are several days away. And yet we still misinterpret the signs. Forecasts can sometimes be wrong. We’ve all had the unfortunate experience of having a good forecast and the day’s weather turned out to be awful.
We can take a lesson from Our Lord’s teaching today. He says: “Why not judge for yourselves what is right?” Sometimes we need to look honestly at the signs of our times. We can’t look only at how events affect us, at what would be good for us to the exclusion of the rest of God’s people.
Our Lord goes on to give such an analogy. Many people today take lawsuits for granted. We scoff at people who settle out of court, assuming that they’re guilty and trying to get off with a lighter penalty, or escape with their reputations intact. And yet Our Lord suggests that we take an honest look at ourselves and our lives and willingly seek forgiveness, restitution and reconciliation. We need to be willing to look beyond our own self-interest. We know from the Scriptures and from the teaching of the Church how God calls us to live. As Saint Paul tells the Ephesians, there is but one Body and one Spirit. God working in us through Christ can guide us to read the signs of the times in ways that can benefit all God’s people.