The 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Mark 13:24-32
As we approach the end of the liturgical year the readings remind of us this aspect of Jesus’ teaching: his insistence on the urgency of our situation and the need to decide in the light of the impending judgement.
He will be the judge who will come in all his power and glory, when his teachings and his followers will be proved right.
Jesus does not say these things to frighten us but to convince us of the need to be vigilant, to be prepared. The day of his coming heralds the salvation and vindication of the righteous, a day of joy rather than fear. Yet we need to watch out so as not to be caught unawares when that mysterious day comes. I thank Jesus for these comforting words, and ask for the grace to lead a watchful rather than a superficial life. We frequently hear the phrase, “the signs of the times”. This gospel deals with the signs of the end-times. Is there a certain tension between the description of these events (taken in part from the Book of Daniel) and the last verse which states that “about that day or hour no one knows…but only the Father”?
Some Christians have been led astray by becoming fixated on signs of various sorts and prophesying the imminent end of the world. It may be more prudent to expect the unexpected and simply be ready to welcome the Son of Man whenever he comes. In the meantime be consoled by Jesus’ words: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away”.
It is good to find something in life that cannot pass away. We want that – we want it in love, in our friendships and in our trusting in the future. The word of God spoken in love, always a light in life, will never pass away. Prayer is our inserting of ourselves into the reality of that word and that love. Even in our darkest hour the Lord does not abandon us. His eye always upon us He watches over us night and day. In today’s reading Jesus speaks of being on our guard for we do not know the day or the hour when we will be called to Him. But if we take his words to heart and stay close to Him as we journey, we have nothing to fear. His gift to us is His presence with us ‘till the end of the world.