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.
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
There’s an old Chinese blessing—or is it a curse: “May you live in interesting times!”
We live in times marked with the constant threat of terrorism, dizzying changes in technology, and a struggle by people just to keep up. I suspect we’d all trade a lot of the chaos for something less “interesting.”
We’re in good company. Read today’s passage from the 13th chapter of the Gospel of Mark. It’s from a section of “apocalyptic” sayings by Jesus. “Apocalyptic” writing in the Bible deals with the future and is full of strange and poetic symbolism. Its meaning can be a mystery.
Scripture scholars suggest that this chapter of Mark reflects in part the chaotic times in which Mark’s community lived—perhaps in the midst of Roman persecution. Fear, violence, threats to the community were a reality. Christians must have wondered if the end was near.
In response, Mark reassures us with the words of Jesus. In verses just preceding today’s selection, we hear that the end of all things must wait until the Gospel is proclaimed to the ends of the earth—a task still in process today. True, Christians must struggle, but they’re not to retreat from chaos. Instead, we must be in the midst of it, active witnesses to hope. Jesus’ words, full of hope, will never pass away.
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
According to this week's first reading (Dn 12:1-3), at the end of the world, Daniel sees that Michael, the guardian of God’s people, will protect those whose names are written in the book of life. Who keeps the book of records?
Those who lead people to justice shall be like the stars that shine brightly. Would you like to be a person who leads others to justice?
In the second reading (Heb 10:11-14, 18), Jesus is compared to the priests in the Jerusalem Temple at that time. They had to make daily offerings, but their offerings could not take away sins.
Since Jesus offered himself, once, for all sinners. Could his offering take away sins?
Jesus talks about the end of the world in this week's Gospel (Mk 13:24-32). What does Jesus say will happen?
When the Son of Man comes, how will it be? The same as when Jesus lived on earth or will He come in power and glory?
Can anyone, other than God the Father, know when the end of the world will come?
Have you ever met anyone who claimed to know when the end of the world will be?
See if you can find a fig at a local store and try it or find a recipe to make using figs.
Draw a picture based on the words used to describe the coming of the son of man in today's Gospel.