Mark 13:24-32 ©
The Gospel of the Day – 2015.11.15 (Sunday)
Jesus said, ‘In those days, after the time of distress, the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its brightness, the stars will come falling from heaven and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory; then too he will send the angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven.
‘Take the fig tree as a parable: as soon as its twigs grow supple and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. So with you when you see these things happening: know that he is near, at the very gates. I tell you solemnly, before this generation has passed away all these things will have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
‘But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.’ (NJB)
On the Limits of Human Understanding
Pay attention to the Gospel, and be mindful of the limits that human agency possesses.
It is instructive.
The authors of this Gospel came to the end of their ability to narrate the life and mission of Jesus.
They allowed their own imagination, their own fears, their misguided notions of what the mission of Jesus was, to come in and take the place of wisdom.
Jesus is transformed from the humble teacher and preacher that he was in life, into a figure descending from heaven in power and glory. Jesus would have been the first to tell them that power and glory are no substitute peace and love, for justice and mercy.
The same thing is true for individuals, for nations, and for societies, there are times of conflict and there are times of peace, there are times of despair and there are times of hope, there are times of confusion and there are times of understanding. When we are farthest away from the light, we are able to see it in greater focus as the point that draws us. Allow yourself to be drawn in by the light.
Jesus did not come back in the lifetime of the Gospel writers. It is unfortunate but they allowed the co-mingling of their fears and their hopes to write a series of lies into the narrative of Jesus’ life.
The church has been stuck trying to interpret these lies ever since.
Heaven and earth are here, they are going nowhere. There is no end time for God’s creation, but there is an end for us.
When our end comes, what will we say of our lives; that we lived in fear of the coming of the end, or that we lived them in hope, with trust, in the service of justice and love?
The 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time