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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Hope Begins Now


“Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates. Amen, I say to 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 of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father’” (Mark 13:28-32).

This reading begins, “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 the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken” (Mark 13:24-25). Darkness, earthquakes, the end of the world … This certainly is not an easy passage to hear.

Mark’s Gospel was written during turbulent times, which ended with the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. Faced with these signs of disaster, Mark’s community was sure that the end was near. They anticipated that the second coming of Christ would happen any day.

Mark affirmed that there would be a second coming and also stressed that we can’t know when it will occur. Mark invited his downcast community into a deeper understanding of the end of time. Instead of giving up in the face of the apocalypse and expecting Jesus to rescue us, true disciples will be working and doing good right through it.

Talk of “doom and gloom” reminds us of the harsh reality that being a disciple brings persecution and suffering. Discipleship is about another way of life, not to be measured by the values of this world. Only when all we know is gone will we really understand what our faithful discipleship has brought.

How are you living the values of the world yet to come? How can you better live these values?

Adapted from Word on the Go, a downloadable resource from RENEW International.

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