Little by little the disciples who had known Jesus were dying off. Those who were left believed in him without having seen him. They celebrated his invisible presence in their Eucharists, but when would they see his face, full of life? When would be fulfilled their desire to meet up with him for all time to come?
They kept remembering Jesus’ words lovingly and faithfully. These were their nourishment in those difficult times of persecution. But when could they verify the truth they contained? Won’t they go about forgetting little by little? The years go by and the Final Day wasn’t arriving as they hoped: what could they think about that?
The apocalyptic discourse that we find in Mark wants to offer some convictions that serve to nourish their hope. We mustn’t understand them literally, but try to discover the faith contained in those images and symbols that today end up so strange to us.
First conviction. Humanity’s impassioned history will come to an end some day
The «sun» which marks the succession of the years will go out. The «moon» which marks the rhythm of the months will no longer shine. There won’t be any more days and nights, no more time. In addition, «the stars will come falling from the heavens», the distance between heaven and earth will be wiped away, there will be no more space. This life isn’t forever. One day the definitive Life will arrive, without space or time. We will live in God’s Mystery.
Second conviction. Jesus will return and his followers will be able to finally see his long awaited face: «they will see the Son of man»
The sun, moon and stars will go out, but the world won’t be left without light. Jesus will be the one who illuminates it forever, putting truth, justice and peace in our human history that is today so enslaved in abuses, injustices and lies.
Third conviction. Jesus will bring with him God’s salvation
He will come with the great and saving power of the Father. He doesn’t assume a threatening stance. The Gospel writer avoids speaking here of judgments and condemnations. Jesus comes to «gather his chosen», those who faithfully await their salvation.
Fourth conviction. Jesus’ words «will not pass away»
They won’t lose their saving power. They must keep nourishing the hope of his followers and the spirit of the poor. We aren’t walking toward nothingness and emptiness. What awaits us is God’s embrace.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf