Friday of the Thirty-FourthWeek in Ordinary Time

The ultimate times 

He taught them a lesson. “Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 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. Lk 21,29-33

This passage from the gospel of Luke has an apocalyptic style, it talks about the second coming of Jesus Christ who will restore the order to all the things of this world and it speaks also about the extraordinary signs which will accompany that event. We do not know when it will happen and what these signs will be, but the today gospel ensures us that the humanity will become aware of it, by the same way in which, seeing the fig tree putting its sprouts, we say that the summer is nearby. The only certainty is that this day will come, because the Lord said it and this is enough for us to believe it. There are, however, two questions which it is correct to raise when the Holy Scriptures speak of the apocalyptic times. The first is: “Why the Lord puts into effect the salvation of the world in two times? He could not solve everything by one only coming?”. There is only one answer to this question: because the salvation of the world is not an event which God undertakes above us and although us; his strategy is to achieve it with us and with the church which Jesus established. The Emmanuel, which means “God with us”, is with us to accomplish this project. The humanity, however, will have to make a long journey of redemption, which has been prophesied by the march of Israel in the wilderness, described in the Exodus and lasting forty years. This seems to be the strategy of God. The second question is: “How effectively the final salvation will take place and what the triggering events will be?”. No one knows about this question, but we have reasons to believe that this second creation, already underway, should be fulfilled with the same criteria like the first, which is described at the beginning of the Genesis as a reorganization, a change from the chaos, which the humanity recreated, to a new cosmos, an orderly world where everything is in place and which bears a good sense. Let us read these verses: “The earth was a formless wasteland and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters” (Gn 1,2). There was chaos, abyss and darkness, but now everything became harmony, because the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. There are many things nowadays to be fixed, but the Spirit of God still lingers on the world and the church. This reassures us.

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