As we already know, the return of Jesus Christ is to be the most phenomenal event in all human history. It will be the most amazing and spectacular event ever to be witnessed by the eyes of man. Its importance cannot be overstressed, for when Christ returns, both the blessings and the judgment of God will fall upon the earth. Genuine believers will be blessed and unbelievers will suffer the wrath of God. This is our faith and hope!
However, as we await this glorious event of Jesus’ return, the human situation does not seem to be in order as it should. When we look at any newspaper or listen to news on radio or watch in on television, we know immediately that we live in a world of strife, violence, murder, wars, kidnapping, etc. Any of us can see the signs that are there. Probably in every period of history, these same signs have been there and always there are people trying to guess or predict that now is the end time. Generally, believers seem to be in a state of despondency, even as they wait in hope for the “Day of the Sonof Man”.
The imagery and language found in today’s first reading from Daniel, and then in the Gospel passage from Mark, developed during the time of Israel’s foreign occupation and domination. It was a kind of underground resistance literature. It first showed up under the Greek domination of Israel a couple of centuries before Christ and continued up until the end of the first century after Christ. The Book of Daniel is an early example of it; today’s Gospel is a later one. The imagery and language were a kind of coded script, meaningless to the oppressors, but carrying a message of hope and vindication for the oppressed Jews. The struggle and oppression experienced by the Jews under the dominant world super-powers (first the Greeks, then the Romans at the time of Jesus and the early Church), were seen as expressions of the cosmic conflict between good and evil.
Today’s readings speak to us about the Lord’s return and the Believer’s behavior. They also speak about how to go on living when there is a lot of evil happening in the world. We are invited to live here and now with an awareness of eternity, seeing this life as preparations for an endless life with God. In other words, Christians are not to be pessimistic and remain in a state of despondency because they are overwhelmed by the presence of evil and injustice in the world. They are to live rather thoughtfully and carefully; as people who will have to give an account of all their actions. They are toremain steadfast and never lose hope, instead, they must make sure the books are in order. The hope that awaits all who have remained faithful and whose names are written in the book of life is that when He comes they shall be rewarded with eternity. Truly, this is a call to live with a purpose in life; a call to share the gifts of goodness with others. What good is the Good news if we keep it to ourselves? Christ’s message – the Good News of compassion, of mercy, of justice, of hope, of love – is meant to be lived. It is meant to be shared. It is meant to be spread to others. Are we doing that or are wetoo frightened of what that might involve? Whatever that may occupy our lives within this period as we await Jesus’ return, we should never forget that each of us is right now writing the book of evidence for that judgment on the value of our lives.BACK TO LIST