33rd Sunday in Ordinary TIme
This Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 13:24-32) is part of St Mark’s Apocalyptic (i.e. end times) Discourse.
In it Our Lord speaks of the sufferings and tribulations that his disciples will experience. Our Lord speaks also of the final triumph when, the heavenly ‘Son of Man’ will come on the Last Day and gather His elect from the ends of the earth.
Our Lord uses the parable of the appearance of new leaves on a fig tree points to the certainty of bearing fruit as a analogy of the certainly of the hope for a renewed earth. As soon as the branch of the fig tree produces leaves (in Israel, the process takes place in April, around the time of the Passover), it is a sure sign that winter is over, and summer is near. Similiarly, the coming of the Apocalyptic time, or the Last Day, is a certainly and there will be signs. And when He comes again, life on earth as we know it will come to an end, but He will “make all things new”. What is important is not to be anxious of when or how it might happen, but to be alert to it the fulfillment of the hope. We must not be like the many doomsayers down the ages who claimed to know the Last Day. They have come and gone and all their predictions have all proven to be wrong. At the same time, as Christians, we must not be complacent and forget about the end times. We wait for Our Lord to come again, not passively, but actively conscious of His presence in our lives, for He reaches out for us – each day – and in various ways.
It is a good message for in two weeks’ time, we start the season of Advent in which we look back to His First coming, and at the same time, anticipate His Second. Perhaps, the words of the Psalmist sums it all up: “Lord make us know the shortness of our lives, that we gain wisdom of heart”.
Blessings, Fr Michael