Gospel – Mark 13:24-32

Jesus said to his disciples:
“In those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky,
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,
and then he will send out the angels
and gather his elect from the four winds,
from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

“Learn a lesson from the fig tree.
When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves,
you know that summer is near.
In the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that he is near, at the gates.
Amen, I say to you,
this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.

“But of that day or hour, no one knows,
neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

Reflection on the Gospel

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

My students often ask me very point blank questions like, “When is the world going to end?” or “When is Jesus going to return?” or “Why has God waited so long to return?” In many ways these questions could be easily dismissed, but, in fact, their more literal interpretations make sense and speak to their teenage minds’ desire for clarity and black and white understanding. They are not looking through the lens of professional theological studies, which in their own way rationalize with layers of meaning what are ultimately puzzling mysteries. They are refreshing questions because in point of fact they are closer to what was on the mind of Jesus’ followers and other first century Jews. I think of that here with these challenging readings discussing apocalyptic visions and the “end times.” My students’ direct questions put Jesus’ response in to better perspective for me. Jesus admonishes his followers – and us – to take a dualistic stance. He wants them to see, to observe the “signs of the times.” To do so requires alertness, awakeness, and attentiveness – we must be “on watch.” And yet, if this is all we did, we would be hamstrung by anxiety, unable to enjoy the peace of sleep. Thankfully, Jesus also tells us that the day and hour no one knows, only the Father. This calls forth from us a posture of trust. The work is not our own, ultimately it is God’s alone. We must be attentive to our daily calling, and fulfill it as best we can, but all the while remembering that is in God’s hands. It’s not one or the other, it’s “both/and.”

Mr. Brian Daley
La Salle Academy – New York, NY

Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever.