Mk 13: 24-32
“But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell 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 about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The end is near!
The readings today from the prophet Daniel (Dn 12: 1-3) and Mark’s Gospel speak of doom and gloom. “It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress!” “Heaven and earth will pass away!” In other words: the end is near!
But the prophet Daniel lived thousands of years ago. Generations have come and gone since Jesus ascended into heaven. What gives? Is the end near?
Well, in at least one sense, yes, the end is near. We are coming to the end of the liturgical year. Next Sunday is the feast of Christ the King, and the following week is the beginning of Advent, which marks the start of a new liturgical year. So yes, the end (of the liturgical year) is near. That’s why we have these readings today.
As for the end of times, we know not the day nor the hour. The best we can do is strive to live a life of holiness and turn to God for mercy when we falter. Every mistake can become an opportunity to repent and try again. To make ourselves ready for Christ’s coming, or ready for when we will encounter him in the next life.
Every ending gives way to a new beginning. So, what are the things in your life that are coming to an end? What are the things in your life that need to be put to an end? How can you best prepare yourself for new beginnings?
—Fr. Brian Strassburger, SJ, is a member of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province. He was ordained this summer and is helping to meet pastoral needs in the Rio Grande Valley on the U.S.-Mexico border.
A Prayer to Embrace New Beginnings
I ask you to bless this new beginning.
Though much has changed, I know your love for me will never change.
Please remind me of your presence in the kindness, patience and guidance others extend to me in this new place.
Help me to be the best version of myself, so that I may flourish here—
mentally, physically and spiritually.
Let my Christ light shine for others, so that they may know your goodness.
Anoint this threshold with your peace.
I place my hand in yours, God.
Together, let’s begin.
—Patti Lamb, columnist for The Criterion of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis