TEXT: The Holy Gospel According to Saint Mark 13:24-32
For many years I feared the cataclysmic and catastrophic changes that were spoken of in the Apocalypse. The pictures drawn for us of the events surrounding the Second Coming of Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, are horrifying and awesome in their scope and terror. Many are afraid even to open the pages of that book of the Bible.
But, there is a calm and great sense of peace within my own heart these days, even when I hear the words of my Savior describe the terrible events to come upon mankind.
But, beloved, we are called to become more concerned with our responsiveness to the words that follow in our reading today.
What about -- "after that tribulation?"
Where will you and I stand when Christ appears with power and great glory -- a Glory that far surpasses any brightness of even the noon day sun?
24 "But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
A great spiritual battle is taking place even now. A third of the stars of heaven have been cast down and the angels of Saint Michael battle with the fallen angels who rebelled with Satan. The momentum grows each day and we are helped by God, protected by Saint Michael and sense closely the intimate spiritual fellowship in this wilderness with our Lady, the Woman of Revelation 12.
The adversary of our souls attempts to destroy us, to drown us with floods of water. But, the earth helps the Lady. It is because, Jesus Christ is Victor... and we are more than conquerors through him that loves us so!
What is the Blessed Hope of the Christian?
It is the Glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!
26 And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory.
27 And then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
I have no fear of what mankind can do to us (or me), because my Lord knows his elect, whomever they may be over the whole earth from all ages - past, present and future!
My God is the First Born from the dead - His is Victor over death!
Ezekiel prophesied over dry bones and they stood up as a great army!
Shall God do any less?
The Voice of Jesus raised Lazarus, shall he not also raise us all into new bodies?
Amen. I believe it! There is no fear, therefore, beloved.
The fact is that God is to be trusted completely with our pasts, our present and futures. To stand in awe of God - to "fear God" is our calling. The "fear" of the Lord is to stand in awe of him and trust him completely for our salvation through his grace and mercy and redemptive blood - purchased work upon the Cross.
The beauty of this is that he left us with his Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.
Let us sense with the words of Jesus what is necessary though.
28 "From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.
There was another lesson learned from another fig tree that did not bear any fruit when Jesus wanted some fruit. So, Jesus cursed that fig tree and it withered.
There is a lesson for us in this.
We are called to bear much fruit in Christ through abiding in the Vine as good branches that bear fruit, the fruits of faith.
Now, there is a second fig tree. There is another opportunity to watch and wait upon the Lord who comes to Zion.
Now, this fig tree -- Its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves - summer is near.
We have a sense, a growing sense, that summer is getting closer each day.
None of us can say that Christ will come in our lifetime. None of us can even say with certainty that it is soon.
But, all of us can surely say that Christ's Second Coming is closer than before we formed the words in our mouths to read this Gospel lesson today!.
We see events of godlessness and post-modernism all around us, (a way that rejects divine authority), running rampant in our societies over the earth. Men have this feeling of being "in charge," (little gods) when it is God alone who is our Lord and Master, the Coming King who took the Cross before the Crown - therefore, God has highly exalted him above all names in heaven and earth that at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is LORD!
But, are we afraid?
Has God lost all control?
No, beloved - the Lord is not slack in any way concerning his promises to us.
Those who love God have a sense of his closeness, and, his nearness in times of trial and tribulation.
29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.
30 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away before all these things take place.
Who is this generation?
It is his family, the children of God through faith in Christ Jesus!
Thanks be to God alone!
31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Friends, we may have presidents and kings, governors or guardians that make promises, but nobody every made a Promise like that of God through Jesus Christ, as was foretold by the Gospels and especially by Mary's Magnificat. And, yes, the Gospel Canticles of Zechariah and Simeon. These are God's Promise to God's People!
Jesus is the Promise!
You and I can absolutely TRUST HIM!
We do not, thank our God, know the day or the hour of his coming. Not even the angels know it. Not even the Son.
32 But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
God in the eternal Wisdom of the Trinity makes it clear that only the Father knows and that makes it impossible for us to speculate on the day and hour of the Second Coming of Christ.
We just KNOW he will return and that should cause us to pay particular attention to how we live for God alone in relationship to "after that tribulation."
How shall we live?
Like our Sanctissima, beloved. That's how.
The blueprint by our Lady is clearly drawn..., in the words - "magnifies the Lord," "spirit rejoices in God my Savior," "the lowliness of his handmaid," "done great things for me, and holy is his name," and "his mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear him," to name a few themes.
In fact, our Lady outlines the whole victorious plan of God in this simple prayer of prayers especially for her children in these days of trial.
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; because he has regarded the lowliness of his handmaid; for, behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; because he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name; and his mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and has exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of his mercy, even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever." Luke 1:46-55.