Scripture Readings: Daniel 12.1-3; Hebrews 10.11-14, 18 ;Mark 13.24-32
Jesus spoke to his disciples about the coming of the Son of Man. “In those days after trials of every kind, the sun will grow dark. The moon will have no light. The stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then people will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
. . . “I assure you this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. The heavens and the earth will pass away, but my words will not. About the day or hour when these things will happen, no one knows. Neither the angels in heaven nor even the Son, only the Father.” – Mark 13. 24-26, 30-32
Why is the gospel ambiguous about when the world will end? Mark is writing in the wake of a cataclysmic event that demands interpretation — the destruction of the temple, which happened about 40 years after Jesus’ death. It coincided with Jesus’ eyewitness disciples reaching old age and with the deaths of Peter and Paul, martyred in the mid A.D. 60s.
We can speculate that people who thought the end would come in their lifetimes saw signs converging in A.D. 70. Mark recognizes a second early Christian voice in his apocalyptic chapter. This voice says only God knows when the end will come. All Christians should expect the end will be a positive experience.
The signs of chaos Mark describes surround us — COVID pandemic, climate change, extinct plants and animals, fire, persistent drought, oceans that teem with plastic. Having hope for our future as a society and a planet can seem foolish.
However, Jesus also gives us a positive image of sap rising in the fig tree and green leaves bursting forth. Indeed we live in chaos, but what is chaos except a sign of something new emerging? What if the future is not scary, but full of hope?
What hope do you have for the future?