Homily for the thirty-third Sunday of the year - Year B - Mk. 13:24-32


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Jesus speaks to his disciples about his return: « 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 heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And 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 say to you, this generation will not pass away before all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.


" « But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. » "




Homily:


" Jesus speaks to his disciples about his return: « 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 heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. » "


As we approach the end of the liturgical year, the Church asks us to read this gospel in which Jesus speaks to us of his return and wants us to ponder the last days of our life. The liturgical year which is drawing to a close reflects the eventual ending of our own lives. Of course, it is a picture, an image, a means offered by God which enables us to focus on reality. The end of the liturgical year is a symbol of the end of our own lives and the end of the world as we know it, that is to say, the moment chosen by God for his glorious return.


The scene which the Lord Jesus describes is shocking! The sun, whose purpose is to shine; the moon, whose purpose is to illuminate the night; the stars designed to browse their orbit without end; all these things will be upset as everything else will be upset! We have been created in order to live and in order to constantly grow in the acquaintance of God and of all things, and then one day death comes to surprise us and to put an end to all that we know! What distress!


This description of Jesus is shocking! This one is destined to waken us from our torpor because we often sleep, we don't realize that our lives must be offered in the service of the Lord. Then God wakes us up, he puts before our eyes this picture of desolation, he attempts to shake us, just as Jesus attempted to shake the Apostles who were asleep in the Garden of Olives the day before his Passion. " Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Mk. 14:37-38)


" « And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And 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. » "


What an imposing and magnificent spectacle! What splendor! The Son of Man, Jesus, our Savior, full of glory and majesty, comes back to earth "with great power"! The power of death no longer exists! It is life which triumphs and which reigns forever and everywhere! Jesus returns as the Risen Lord, bringing life to all the elect, the life which he possesses in fullness and which he wants to share with all those whom the Father chose for him since the beginning of the world! Jesus is the King and the Master of all the universe. He returns in order to reign on earth, and to share his reign with us on the last day! It is then that all the elect will be united with God and among them, there will be no more division among the sons of God. " 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 say to you, this generation will not pass away before all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. » "


The Lord then puts forth a parable, a comparative story, that of the fig tree. It is easy to understand that this comparison recurs every year, because, every year, the branches of the fig tree become tender, and its leaves push forth when the summer is near. So, every year, seeing a fig tree in early summer, we could remember this announcement of the return of the Lord. But just as we cannot always witness the blooming of the fig tree, a thing which is possible only under certain conditions, the Church, inspired by the Holy Spirit, judged it more useful that we ponder the coming of the Lord at this time --the end of the liturgical year-- by reading and hearing the gospel of this day.


Let us, therefore, reflect upon it! The Lord is the Master of the universe, and we are waiting for his return in glory! In very a short time, we will receive the Lord in holy communion. It is about another return, simple, hidden, humble, but infinitely rich in graces and in divine life, as well as the glorious Return of Christ! Ask Mary for her aid in preparing us to receive the Lord on this day! May She be our mediator and our lawyer next to the almighty Lord!



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