We hear about many happenings in the world that cause us to be afraid. What will happen next, some say? In today’s Gospel Jesus is telling us about the end of the world. Many people have predicted that “now the end is really coming!” But the fact is, it will end for each one of us at our own passing. Oh, that we may be found watchful and eager to welcome him when he comes?
This is a meditation on this Gospel from one of my sisters:
“. . . when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates.”
Today’s Gospel is from Jesus’ end-times discourse found near the end of Mark. Jesus speaks about the many signs and wonders that will indicate the end is near: a darkened sky, falling stars, and a moon without light. This is scary stuff! We don’t usually see stars falling when we venture out into the night. Yet Jesus is trying not to scare us, but to challenge us to be attentive and watchful. He wants us to be prepared disciples, eager to welcome him at his coming, for time passes quickly and the day of salvation draws near.
This coming that Jesus speaks of cannot be understood only in terms of his final coming, his Parousia at the end of time. It can also be seen as any of his comings. For he comes every day in our ordinary lives, be it through a beautiful sunset or the encouraging words of a friend. And it is precisely in being attentive to, recognizing, and responding to these comings that I will be prepared for his ultimate and final coming
So I need to ask myself: how attentive and watchful am I in my day-to-day life? How prepared am I for the Lord’s “ordinary” and even subtle comings? Am I like the prudent virgin with lighted lamp and oil in hand, eagerly waiting for her Lord? Or am I, instead, like the fearful servant who buried his talent, afraid for his master’s return? If I am the latter I need to ask myself, why do I fear the Lord’s coming? Why do I hold back from his presence? Do I not love him? For if I do, then love casts out all fear. Love makes me attentive and watchful. Love makes me open and receptive to the many signs in my life that indicate his presence even now. And love gives me the strength to respond to this presence anew each day, for “he is near, at the gates.”
If you have enjoyed this meditation, you’ll find meditations on all the Gospels in the Ordinary Grace series Ordinary Grace Weeks 18-34