THE SIGNS ARE ALWAYS AROUND US, IF ……
(A biblical refection on THE 33rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [YEAR B] – 15 NOVEMBER, 2015)
Gospel Reading: Mark 13:24-32
First Reading: Daniel 12:1-3; Psalms: Psalm 16:5,8-11; Second Reading: Hebrews 10:11-14,18
The Scripture Text
“But 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, 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. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time with come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Watch therefore – for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning – lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch.” (Mark 13:24-32 RSV)
Since we are accustomed to interpreting signs, Jesus tells us what signs to look for that He is ready to return to earth: signs like thick darkness, falling stars, and fearful trembling. Passages like today’s first reading and the Gospel can sound frightening. But Jesus wants to reassure us that no matter what happens, He remains sovereign.
Jesus remains committed to His promise to bring us into His presence at the end of time, as long as we do our best to stay faithful to Him. We may experience trials at different points, but none of them can prevent Jesus from offering us the hope that we too can shine with Him in heaven.
Perhaps we are already living in the times of tribulation Jesus foretold. Or maybe overwhelming difficulties in our lives just make it feel the way. But whatever our situation, we can hold fast to Jesus’ promises and lift up our hearts in hope. Why? Because God remains with us. Fear, worry, or grief may temporarily blind us to His presence, but the signs are always around us if we quiet our hearts and look. The miracle of new life, a rainbow, and the Eucharist: These are just some indicators that God is still in control and committed to loving us.
Even Jesus’ names tell us of His intentions to bring us into His heavenly home. “Jesus” means “God saves,” and “Emmanuel” means “God is with us”! The salvation Jesus won does not change, nor does His promise to be with us always – even “to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). So let’s put our full trust in a faithful Savior whose love for us endures forever.
Prayer: Jesus, I trust in You, I give You my burdens and ask You to help me bear them. Teach me to be always confident in Your presence. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.
Jakarta, 12 November 2015
A Christian Pilgrim