The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
November 14th, 2021 – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Mark 13:24-32
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Daylight is decreasing and we are beginning to think about the ending of this Year of the Lord, 2021. And what a year this has been! I will not go into details here because, besides global happenings, there are all the stresses and strains that each of us has undergone. Almost too many to count. On a personal note, my wife and I sold a larger home and acquired a smaller one. They call it “downsizing.” Our children no longer dwell with us but live on their own with their own challenges. My wife and I now see more of each other because we live in a smaller cave.
When today’s gospel was written, a popular format in religious circles were descriptions of what was called “the end time.” It had many similarities with today’s science fiction writing, films and video games. Lots of spectacular events season the story lines.
In biblical writings such imaginative happenings were used to highlight God’s involvement in terrestrial history. It’s important, however, to focus on God, and what God is doing, more than on the scenery being employed to make divine events all the more dramatic. Using the words of the gospel, God comes with angels “to gather” those God has chosen and bring them into eternal life with God. So, the gospel is not meant to scare us, but to provide us with a “view” of a hopeful and glorious future.
This is the primary message of our faith: God’s deep love for all those God created. For two-thousand years, Christians have debated whether God has chosen only some of us and rejected others. Michelangelo’s famous fresco, “The Last Judgment” places some of those depicted in heaven with God and others (interestingly, some of the artist’s enemies) with the devil in hell. Most of what he presented came from his vivid imagination and not from God’s revealed word.
So, what can we conclude from the gospel describing the end of time? First, this is a matter of God’s doing. Humans are not in charge, especially at the end. And God’s love is the most powerful force in all creation. God’s reason for creating, first of all, was to lovingly share life with God. God created no one as evil, although we are all capable of evil.
This account of the end of the world is included in the New Testament to give us hope, not to frighten us. It can also serve as a reminder that we are not alone in this magnificent story. We are invited to be hopeful that we will all one day enjoy life with God together.
©David M. Thomas, PhD