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Gospel for Sunday, November 14: Mark 13: 24-32

XXXIII Sunday B

24In those days, after that tribulation, the sun will darken and the moon will no longer give its splendor 25and the stars will begin to fall from the sky, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26Then they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. 27And he will send angels and gather together his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven. 28Learn this parable from the fig tree: when its branch already becomes tender and puts out leaves, you know that summer is near; 29so you too, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates. 30Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 32As for that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Mark 13: 24-32

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it).

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

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THE PARUSIA (13,24-27)

The apocalyptic genre (from “apo-kaluptein” = “to unveil”, to remove the veil of mystery) is a meditation on the prophetic announcements regarding God’s interventions in history, but above all an imaginative rereading of the theology of the “Day of IHWH” : it would have been the moment of God’s final judgment against the unfaithful nations and against sinful Israel itself (Is 13.6-13; Zeph 1.14; Joel 4.14-20; Zech 14.1; Ml 3.14 -19…), but also of the salvation of the righteous after a period of tribulation and affliction, with earthly or future retribution (Dan 9; 11; 12). In a time of crisis and oppression, hope is renewed in God who, through his Messiah, will intervene to defeat the wicked and make the good triumph.

Jesus uses this symbolic literary genre by speaking to us about the “beginning of pains” (Mk 13.8) (see the “pangs of childbirth”: Rom 8.22; Rev 12.2) to express the condition of suffering and pain in which he lies every man because of his creatureliness and the internal logic of this world, but from which God will draw a new creation. The “abomination of desolation” (Mk 13.14) refers to the prophecy of Daniel (Dan 9.27; 11.31; 12.11), when Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 168 BC. C. desecrated the Temple by placing the statue of Zeus Olympus in it: among the various interpretations, the reference to the Death of Jesus himself seems clearest, when the Son of God himself is handed over to the pagans by the High Priests.

In today’s passage, according to a typical apocalyptic scheme (wonders in the sky, glorious advent of the Messiah, reunification of the elect), the triumph of Christ is described.

The Apocalypse is not something that has to come. The Apocalypse has already happened. The Apocalypse was the cosmic battle of the forces of evil that sought to destroy the Messiah.

The Messiah accepts the will of the Father, dies on the cross and, in doing so, definitively destroys evil, illness, death and sin. The Apocalypse does not refer to a further coming of the Lord: it refers to the coming of the Lord which culminates with his death on the cross.

In Mark, unlike Matthew (Mt 24), there is no mention of the end of the world: “Nothing in these words, nor in the small basic Jewish apocalypse, announces anything other than the imminent messianic crisis and the expected liberation of the chosen people, which was accomplished in effect with the ruin of Jerusalem, the resurrection of Christ and his coming into the Church” (Jerusalem Bible).

The Apocalypse announces the end of times, and the end of times occurs in the death of the Lord, and in his Resurrection, in which Satan is defeated and chained forever, and we enter into the glory of God.

Of course, Saint Paul will say, we are suspended between the “already” and the “not yet”. The baptized person has already died and risen in Christ (Col 2,12-13; 3,1); the believer is already placed with Jesus in heaven (Eph 2.5-6)!

In this sense, according to the modern reading, the text of the Apocalypse is born: we are “already” saved, “already” redeemed, “already” possessors of the goods of the Kingdom, grace, the life of God, the victory over sin and on evil, even if, still imprisoned in the space-time dimension typical of creatureliness, we “not yet” taste them experientially: for now only in Faith do we participate in this event, until our death, freeing us from our earthly dimension and launching ourselves into eternity of God, will allow us to fully experience salvation and the encounter with God. For the Apocalypse, a great message of hope, in the Cross and Resurrection the “day of the Lord” has already come true, and in our death we will enter the dimension of God, in which, outside of space and time, the “particular judgement” of each of us and the “universal judgement” coincide.

This is why the believer longs to leave his corporeal dimension to meet God at the moment of his death. This is why death for the believer should not be something frightening, but should be the glorious time in which I, the Groom, is reunited with the Bride: this is why when we say: “Maranathà!”, “Lord, come!” (Rev 22,27.20), ultimately we ask nothing more of the Lord than to come into our lives soon to welcome us into his Kingdom.

The believer is convinced that his life is a gift, and he knows that his death is not a tragic thing but is a passage into the arms of God, therefore he aspires and awaits his coming, which is precisely the moment of death.

THE PARABLE ON DISCERNMENT (13,28-32)

The reference to the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus is evident: “This generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place” (Mk 13.30). The coming of God into our lives is certain, like the summer when the fig tree blooms (Mk 13.28-29): but no one knows it except the Father (13.32): all we have to do is watch, living the present with commitment, leaving the calculations, the fear, the catastrophic predictions to others.

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at migliettacarlo@gmail.com.

Source

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