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CHRIST WILL RETURN WITH GREAT POWER AND GLORY by Fr. Linh

THIRTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – YEAR B

GOSPEL: MARK 13:24-32

CHRIST WILL RETURN WITH GREAT POWER AND GLORY

Rev. Linh N. Nguyen

 

Today’s gospel uses apocalyptic images to depict the end of the world. Though Jesus stated plainly that no one can know the day or the hour, he also implied that the wise will be able to discern the signs.

 

Jesus uses the natural image of the fig tree to unfold the metaphor. A farmer or gardener can tell immediately when life is about to come forth, just by knowledge of the plant. In the same way, the practiced Christian can sense ways that lead to life (or sin and death) by reading the signs.

 

Our happiness in the future will be determined by our appreciation of the present. We should live each day in joyful hope as if it were to be our last on earth.

 

They will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory.  

 

Jesus’ apocalyptic words can tell us that his second coming will be completely unlike the first. He came the first time in weakness, born in the manger at Bethlehem, unnoticed, and scarcely known. But he will come the second time in royal dignity, with the armies of heaven around him, to be known, recognized, and feared by all the people of the earth.

 

He came the first time to suffer, to be despised, rejected, unjustly condemned and slain. But he will come the second time to reign, to put down every enemy beneath his feet, to rule them with righteousness, and to judge everybody.

 

Jesus assures all believers that the end of the world will be a “happy ending.” Faithful Christians will reap according as they have sown. They will receive a rich reward for all that they have endured for Christ’s sake. They will exchange their cross for a crown.

 

But the end of the world will also be a “condemning ending” to those who have despised and rejected Christ. They will be helpless, hopeless, and speechless when they stand before their Judge, Christ himself.

 

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.

 

True Christians look forward to the second coming of Christ without fear. Their safety will be provided for, when judgment falls upon the earth. However terrible the things that come on the earth, Christ will take care that no harm comes to them. True Christians will have a joyful meeting with all their brothers and sisters in the faith, of every age, country, people, and language.

 

Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near.

 

Jesus told his disciples to “learn a lesson from the fig tree.” Just as its budding leaves tell people that summer is near, so the fulfillment of events in the world around us should teach us that the Lord’s coming “is near, right at the door.”

 

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.

 

In the eyes of some men, it has been a long, long time since Christ spoke these words; and an innumerable list of events have happened. Therefore, they assume the whole idea of the second coming is a fable. But God will have the last word, and it is Good News, the Gospel message of Jesus. God knows when this would happen.

 

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

 

The early Christians expected Jesus to return to them soon after his resurrection. Mark seems to acknowledge this unfulfilled expectation when he pictures Jesus saying that no one, not even the Son of Man (Jesus), knows the exact day or hour.

 

Jesus’ admission that he does not know the day or hour of the end of the world implies two significant points:

1.      Jesus was fully human, and as such, he had limited knowledge about the world.

2.      If neither Jesus nor the angels in heaven do not know the day or hour of the end of the world, how can anyone else be so presumptuous and proud to predict it. Though some may claim to know, Jesus assures us that only the Father knows.

 

At the end of the church year, the Gospel of this Sunday insists that we think about what really lasts. Our tradition teaches that all of the past two millennia have comprised “the last age.” We can see signs of the end, as budding leaves of the fig tree tell people that summer is near. But only the Father knows when the end will really come. In the middle of such uncertainty, only one light penetrates the darkness – Only Jesus can sustain.

 


This article was published on Thursday 12 November, 2009.

Back to main topic: STUDY THE WORD OF GOD
ADULTERY
THIS POOR WIDOW PUT IN MORE THAN ALL THE OTHERS
YOU SAY I AM A KING
BASILICAS OF ST. PETER & ST. PAUL
THE KINGSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST
CHRISTMAS
YOUR REDEMPTION IS AT HAND
GOD’S PROMISES IN ADVENT
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC UNDERSTANDING OF ECUMENISM
WE NEED ADVENT!
WE SAW HIS STAR AT ITS RISING AND HAVE COME TO DO HIM HOMAGE
EMMANUEL – GOD IS WITH US!
THE BLIND BOY AND HIS SIGN
EPIPHANY
WHEN JESUS HAD BEEN BAPTIZED AND WAS PRAYING, HEAVEN WAS OPENED
ALL FLESH SHALL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD
“WHAT SHOULD WE DO?”
GOD KNEW ME BEFORE I WAS BORN
GOD IS LOVE
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY
“THE MOTHER OF MY LORD SHOULD COME TO ME.”
THE LAST EIGHT DAYS IN THE ADVENT SEASON
HIS PARENTS FOUND JESUS SITTING IN THE MIDST OF THE TEACHERS.
MARY – “MOTHER OF GOD”
WHETHER THE BLESSED VIRGIN SHOULD BE CALLED THE MOTHER OF GOD?
THE BAPTISM OF JESUS
WHETHER THE BAPTISM OF JOHN WAS FROM GOD
WHETHER IT WAS FITTING FOR CHRIST TO BE BAPTIZED WITH JOHN’S BAP
JESUS TURNS WATER TO WINE

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