November 12, 2021
As we approach the end of the liturgical year, our Sunday readings point us to the end of time. The reading from the Book of Daniel looks forward to an end for those faithful Jews who were persecuted by King Antiochus IV: “They shall live forever” and “shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament.” Likewise, the reading from the Gospel of Mark reminds those faithful early Christians in Rome who were persecuted that they “will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory,” who will “gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the end of the sky.” Both of these passages speak with hope and confidence about the end for those who are faithful to God and God’s ways despite persecution. In other words, both groups of persecuted people are called to trust that no matter how dire the situation, God will never abandon them.
In contemplating the end, the words of Jesus remind us that “about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Perhaps this serves as an important reminder that we should not fixate upon some moment in the future so that we will have “the lead time” to be adequately prepared. Preparation, on the contrary, is something that we do each and every day as we await the end. This type of preparation is marked by hope and confidence that the service and sacrifices of this life, made for the sake of others, will not be in vain. Indeed, they will be seen truly and revealed as the way to the fullness of life.