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Mass prep – 30 seconds/3 points: Was Jesus speaking of the end of the world?


Photo Courtesy of Sr. Amata CSFN

Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik - published on 11/13/21

How am I using my time?

This Sunday’s Gospel is Mark 13:24–32

1. Key concepts

Today’s Gospel is sometimes interpreted as an announcement of the end of the world. However, when we read it in its biblical context, we see that Jesus was speaking about at least three things.

2. Three interpretations

In those days after that tribulation, “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light.”

These words were partially fulfilled in the hour of Jesus’ crucifixion. The same evangelist Mark writes that then “darkness enveloped the whole earth” (Mk 15:33). Furthermore, the phrases “on that day” or “the hour” often appear in the context of Jesus’ Passion, death, and resurrection, thus strengthening the argument that Jesus is also referring to the last day of his earthly life and the hour of his death. Christians interpreted this Gospel precisely in a symbolic way, for they saw in Jesus the transition that occurred from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant, in which we now also live.

This generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.

In Jewish tradition at Jesus’ time, one generation spanned about 40 years, and Jesus’ statement is the response to the admiration of one of his disciples before the temple of Jerusalem. He had said: “Teacher, look what stones and what buildings!” Jesus replied: “There will not be one stone left upon another here” (see Mark 13:1–2). In today’s Gospel, Jesus develops this theme. If we assume that Jesus was talking about his death and the destruction of the temple, then the dates match, because the Lord Jesus was crucified approximately in the year 30, and one generation later corresponds to the 70s, when Romans destroyed the temple of Jerusalem.

Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

In one passage, Jesus shows that near and far events are interrelated. At one level, as Mary Healy points out, the coming of the Son of Man is Jesus’ ascension, his ascension to the throne at the right hand of the Father, and the ultimate perspective refers to his coming at the end of time.

3. Today

We will more quickly meet Jesus in eternity than He will come to earth. How do we use the time that is God’s gift? Do I have time for God, family, and friends? Do I have time for myself? 

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