Hopefully your week was filled with God’s grace and His presence
Today’s readings give us the assurance that our God will be with us all the days of our lives. So that we will have the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst, guiding, protecting, and strengthening us in spite of our uncertainty concerning the end of time when, “Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” Each year at this time, the Church asks us to consider the “four last things” –Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell –as pertaining to ourselves.
The readings invite us to focus our attention on the threefold coming of Jesus: 1) His first coming according to the flesh, as Redeemer. 2) His second coming, either at our death, or at the end of time and the world, which will bring our salvation to completion. 3) His coming into our lives each time we step forward in genuine Christian living.
Today’s Gospel, taken from Mark (AD 69), offered hope to early Christians persecuted by the Roman Emperor Nero, by reminding them of Jesus’ words about His glorious return to earth with great power and glory as Judge to gather and reward the elect. Daniel and Mark continue to remind us that God will ensure that the righteous will survive the ordeal and will find a place with Him. Through the parable of the fig tree, Jesus warns us all to read the “signs of the time.” He reminds us that we must be ever prepared to give an account of our lives to Jesus when He comes in glory as our Judge, because we cannot know “either the day or the hour” of His Second Coming.
Let us recognize the “second coming” of Jesus in our daily lives through everyday occurrences, always remembering that Jesus comes without warning. But let us not get frightened at the thought of Christ’s Second Coming, because Jesus is with us every day, abiding with the Father and the Holy Spirit in our hearts, dwelling in our Church in the Holy Eucharist, teaching us in the Holy Bible, and unifying us with Him and each other in our worshipping communities. We will be able to welcome Jesus in His Second Coming as long as we faithfully do the will of God by daily serving our brothers and sisters, recognizing Christ’s presence in them, and being reconciled with God and with our brothers and sisters every day.
Let us “learn the lesson from the fig tree.” This means that we are to watch and wait in a state of readiness. Instead of worrying about the end time events, we are asked to live every day of our lives loving God who lives in others, by our committed service to them with sacrificial agape love.