Year B: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel: Mark 13: 24-32
Todayís Gospel offers a foretaste of Advent when we will again reflect on he Comings of Christ - in history - in the present and at the end of time.
The prophecy does not make comfortable reading - speaking as it does of the fading of the great lights in the sky one which life on earth depends and times of distress. However, it comes with the promise that, at the end of it all, Jesus will come in glory to gather all those he has chosen - from the four winds - from the ends of the earth - to the ends of heaven. It places events that happened in an obscure part of the Roman Empire into a cosmic context.
The community for whom Mark was writing was, as we have often observed, under persecution. They had fully expected the Second Coming any day and, faced with the martyrdom of friends and relations - and living under the threat of their own - must often have wondered why Jesus delayed. Had he not said that he would come before the passing of a generation?
In this third millennium, we have lived through a time of great scientific progress. We have faced the reality that humanity now has the capacity to destroy all life on earth many times over. We live in the awareness that there is a remote possibility that an asteroid could do for present life on earth what something similar did for the dinosaurs. We have learnt how to destroy life and, through genetics, are learning to control its building blocks. We can explore the deepest reaches of space and have discovered the creation of new stars and phenomena undreamed of. by previous generations. We are probing space to find evidence of extra-terrestrial life.
Humanity is beginning to step into the cosmos - to move beyond the confines of earth into what lies beyond. Our minds too are being opened to an ever-increasing awe at what lies beyond our sense and comprehension. Some use this to scientific progress to say that religion is no longer relevant. Others see great possibilities for a new union between science and spirituality as scientist and mystic begin to glimpse something of each otherís view of the cosmos.
Jesus was offering a glimpse of something beyond anything his hearers could imagine - two thousand years later, our scientific knowledge has begin to catch up!
What does it mean for me?
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