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Gospel for Sunday, November 28: Luke 21: 25-28. 34-36


25There will be signs in the sun, in the moon and in the stars, and on earth the anguish of people anxious for the roar of the sea and the waves, 26while men will die from fear and waiting for what will happen on earth. Indeed, the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with great power and glory. 28When these things begin to happen, rise up and lift your heads, because your liberation is near”… 34Be careful of yourselves, so that your hearts do not become heavy with dissipation, drunkenness and worries of life and that day does not fall on you suddenly; 35in fact it will fall like a snare on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Watch at all times, praying, so that you have the strength to escape everything that is about to happen and to appear before the Son of Man.

Luke 21: 25-28. 34-36

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

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

The apocalyptic genre

The apocalyptic genre (from apo-kaluptein = to unveil, 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. In apocalyptic literature, symbolic language and visions are used, and texts are attributed to great characters of the Old Testament. (Ezra, Baruk, Moses, Isaiah, Abraham, Jacob, Enoch…)

The long discourse that we read in Luke 21 belongs to the apocalyptic genre: the end times are described as times of wars and divisions, of earthquakes and famines, of cosmic catastrophes. This language widely present in Jesus’ speech is not the message, but simply the expressive means that attempts to communicate it. None of these sentences should be taken literally.

The apocalyptic discourse arises from the belief that history moves, under the guidance of God, towards full and definitive salvation. The disappointments and continuous contradictions of history will never succeed in demolishing this hope, indeed they will serve to purify it and teach that salvation is, beyond present existence, the work of God and not just of man.

The apocalyptic speech invites believers – who are now Christians involved in persecution and embittered by the hatred of the world – to renew their trust in God’s promise and to persevere in their choices of faith and not to fall into compromises: “not even a hair of your head will perish” (Luke 21:18).

We are invited not to burden our hearts with dissipation or the worries of life (21.34), but to keep vigil at all times, praying, to have the strength to appear before the Son of Man (21.36).

The Kingdom of God was established in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus, in the “hour” (Jn 13.1) in which he passed from this world to the Father, and with him made Easter, that is, passage, Us too. But if this has already been achieved in faith “once and for all” (Rom 6.10; Heb 7.27; 9.12; 1 Pt 3.18), for us who still remain in creaturehood, subject to the limits of space and time, there is still the experience of suffering and death. In faith we are already saved, sharing in the very life of God, in his glorious kingdom; in daily experience we are still under the sign of creatureliness and its limits. For this reason we pray: “Thy kingdom come” (Mt 6.10; Luke 11.2), asking God that we soon experience also in our historical dimension what has already been achieved in the eternity of God, the definitive victory over evil and on the death by the Son. It is the cry of the believer who implores: “Marana tha: come, Lord!” (1 Cor 16,22), like the Bride of the Apocalypse (Rev 22,17.20). May already now, in our lives, we be able to participate, in faith, in Christ’s victory over evil and death, may our lives already be filled with the joy of the Kingdom! While waiting for the definitive encounter with the Lord which will come about with our death, when we will leave space and time to meet God in his happy eternity.

Happy Mercy to all!

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


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