How certain are you of where you are headed in life? Me? It depends. There are days when my path seems clear. Then I get a text or the phone rings and my whole world seems to shift. As you read this week’s Gospel imagine how the disciples must have felt after Jesus dropped this message on them.
Jesus said to his disciples: "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. "And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds' with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.
"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 13:24-32
Let me try and put this into context. Here are the headings of the paragraphs preceding this passage in the 13th chapter of Mark’s Gospel.
The Destruction of the Temple Foretold
The Signs of the End
The Coming Persecution
The Great Tribulation
WHOA! Heads up! Things are going to get interesting. Imagine the flurry of glances and responses while this message is being delivered. Jesus concludes this earth-moving message with one word. In verse 37 He says, “What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’” The Greek root of this word is not the word we might use when asking someone to watch a YouTube video. It has a much more active meaning: to be vigilant and on guard, fully awake, aware, alert and intently focused. Jesus is instructing and exhorting His disciples so that they can remain faithful and obedient through the coming trials they will face.
I believe we are to read this message from Jesus in that same way. Our world can change with a simple text message. Regardless of the persecution or tribulation that it might bring we must trust in Jesus. If you have chosen to be one of His elect this is the only text message that ultimately matters: