Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Meditations on the end of the times
“But 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. Mk 13,24-32
Today we are faced with the most important apocalyptic page of the Holy Scripture, because it is Jesus Christ, son of God and God himself, who speaks of the end of the world, of the times and of the history. The world, with all its swarm of people coming and going, is living in an anguish and deeper dispair, because it does not grasp the ultimate meaning of the human existence and of the history. Only the man of faith can quitely smile because he knows where he, as well as the world, is going. The apocalyptic vision of the first verse is seemingly tragic, but it is joyous to the man of God, as the pains of the delivery are for the woman: beyond the suffering, she sees the new life of her son who is coming to the world. From where the hope for the man of faith, allowing him to live with a lightness of spirit the tangled facts of the history and those described in the apocalyptic today passage, is born? It comes from the faith in Jesus Christ crucified. It is from the cross that the first coming of God on earth is made and the fullness of the revelation of a God-Love who gives himself to the people in the person of Jesus of Nazareth is thereby manifested. The second coming, which the New Testament mentions many times, will take place in the eschatological times, even if at the time when it was announced, it always seemed closer than it is happening in the history: “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”. Different explanations have been given to this apparent timing error, but it seems to us that the reason must be sought only in the call to vigilance, which every man is called to live in the period and in the historical context of his life: ” Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning “(Mk 13,35). In other words, the mention of Jesus to “this generation” is to be interpreted in the existential and universal sense, timeless: each man in his time is called to read the history in the light of the gospel, to capture the work of God without requiring to understand the times and the dates. Indeed, this is what happens in the life to the each of us: we live a life project in a parable of time, whose end is not in our hands. Like, at some point, the Lord calls us to himself, by the same way he will call the creation, the time and the history to return from where they started: to God.