NO ONE KNOWS THE DAY
Our better understanding of apocalyptic language, made up of images and symbolic sources to speak about the end of the world, allows us today to listen to the hopeful message of Jesus without falling into the temptation of sowing anxiety and terror in people’s consciences.
One day, the exciting history of human beings on the earth will come to its end. This is Jesus’ firm conviction. This is also the prediction of today’s science. The world isn’t eternal. This life will end. What’s going to come of our struggles and works, of our efforts and aspirations?
Jesus speaks seriously. He doesn’t want to feed any morbid curiosity. He roots out any intention to speculate about conjectures, dates or times. «No one knows the day or the hour…., only the Father». Nothing of psychosis before the end. The world’s in good hands. We aren’t heading toward chaos. We place our trust in God, our Creator and Father.
Based on this total trust, Jesus unfolds his hope: creation as we know it will end, but that will take place in order to open up the way to a new creation, one which will have as its center the Risen Christ. Is it possible to believe something so grandiose? Can we speak that way, long before any of it has come to pass?
Jesus presents images that all can understand. One day the sun and the moon, that illuminate the world today and make life possible, will go out. The world will end up in darkness. Will humanity’s history also go dark? Will our hopes end that way?
According to Mark’s version, in the middle of that night will be seen the «Son of man», that is, the Risen Christ, who will come «with great power and glory». His saving light will illuminate everything. He will be the center of a new world, the beginning of a humanity renewed forever.
Jesus knows that it’s not easy to believe in his words. How can he prove that things will happen that way? With surprising simplicity he invites us to live this life as a Springtime. We all know the experience: life that seemed to be dead during winter begins to wake up; in the branches of the fig tree small leaves bud forth again. All know that summer is near.
This life that we know for now is like the Springtime. It’s still not possible to harvest. We can’t reach definitive goals. But there are small signs that life is being born. Our efforts for a better world won’t be lost. No one knows the day, but Jesus will come. With his coming will be revealed the final mystery of reality, what we believers call God. Our exciting history will reach it fullness.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf