Are you superstitious about Friday the 13th?

I don’t know about you, but I was dreading Friday the 13th last week.

I don’t know about you, but I was dreading Friday the 13th last week.

At the beginning of Mass I mentioned to the congregation how if you were superstitious you wouldn’t leave the house on Friday 13th.

As the parochial house is attached to the church, technically I didn’t have to leave the house and unless I walked under a ladder in the church porch or cracked a mirror in the sacristy I would have been able to consign my fears to the wheelie bin of nonsense.

Until that is, I received a text from my sister which reminded me we were going out for my mother’s birthday. I’m ashamed to say I had totally forgotten my mother’s birthday which is surprising because my mother was born on Friday the 13th and my father complained it was bad luck for him!

In a blind panic I let on to my sister that everything was alright and didn’t mention that I had planned to go out to match the European qualifier play-off match instead.

Thankfully we were eating at 5.30pm and the match wasn’t kicking off for another two hours. Organised as ever, I then had to think what I could buy my mother for her birthday. What would a Tyrone woman who has had the good fortune to live in Derry for over forty years really want or need at this stage? What else but flowers.

I was over the moon because my other brother bought flowers too but I delivered mine first so he was the one who looked stupid. My mother was delighted with two bouquets; my father has hay fever so he wasn’t as happy but he take his oil.

As we approach the end of the church year the readings reflect our concern for the end times when we believe Christ will come again. Through the ages many have predicted the end of the world, great disasters and signs from heaven.

Yet Jesus challenges us to learn a lesson from the fig tree in reading the changes of the seasons we live in. Rather than worry about times and dates or become obsessed with predictions and superstitions, we’re asked to be ready and waiting.

If Christ is our anchor then we have nothing to fear, instead we have to put our time and energy into making the kingdom of God a reality here and now.

Only the Father knows when the fullness of time will come and as we draw to a close of another year it’s an opportunity to discover where the kingdom of God can be found.

The kingdom of God is not some far distant place in the clouds. God’s kingdom is present now when people gather in Christ’s name, when we allow ourselves to be guided and shaped by the Spirit of God.