November 18, 2012
Mark 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 heave
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 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Open to Christ’s Presence
Today’s first reading from the Book of Daniel, along with the end-times passage from Mark’s gospel, describecataclysmic scenes about the end of the world when we will see “the Son of Man coming in the clouds.” Against this backdrop Jesus interjects the assurance that He will come again in power and glory, gathering his elect from “the end of the earth to the end of the sky.” And then He offers the striking image of a tender shoot in springtime, one that insistently bursts forth from the fig tree. Stripped of its leaves and giving every appearance of having died, its life tenaciously sprouts forth anew. Doesn’t that image ring true to many of our own experiences along life’s road?
But there is still another point: the second coming of Christ the Redeemer actually evolves and takes root in our hearts only when you and I discover concrete, practical ways to open our lives to Christ’s presence and mission. Each time we are willinto move away from smallness and sinfulness, despite whatever distress or hard decision this may entail, we step forward into the resurrection of Jesus. We cross over the threshold into the grace of God’s Kingdom, about which Jesus speaks. But this “reign of God” isn’t a specific place or state of being. Rather, it is an attitude of mind and heart. Our daily decisions to turn up the light of faith, our small steps to bring the practical mission of Jesus to our waiting world—this generosity of spirit, this willingness to walk in God’s loving embrace actually bring about the Kingdom of God here and now.
And just how do we do this? Not by standing around waiting for some unique, special blazing moment. Rather, as fully-alive, believing Christians, we commit our lives to make the Gospel come alive each day—even in the boring, usually hidden, often humdrum ways in which we care for and reach out to one another… especially those on the margins, those without a voice. With Jesus as our companion, let us walk forward steadfast in faith, joyful in hope, untiring in love.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Prayer for Generosity
Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will.
—St. Ignatius Loyola
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