33rd Sunday: The End Time (Mark 13: 24-32)
After reading and mediating on todays’ gospel, it just came to my mind, that one of the best tourist attractions in South India is called- Munnar, which is located in my home state of Kerala. This tourist place is situated at the meeting of the three mountain rivers, covered with unending tea plantations, very attractive valleys, mountains, exotic species, wild sanctuaries and forests with spice scented cool air … and there are more and more. When we travel from the bottom of the hill to higher up the mountain, we can see that at each curve there is a different written warning signpost, such as: – “dangerous curve, mudslide area, deep slope, dangerous wild animals,” and so on. After all these warning signs, when we reach the top of the mountain, there is a final warning sign, “You are sufficiently warned and it is up to you!”
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus gave the same kind of warning to each of us: “The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, and stars will fall from the sky!” This seems kind of depressing and causes scary feelings for us. Unfortunately, sometimes our lives can feel like this, when things are going very badly in our lives; perhaps loved ones are sick, there are unexpected deaths, tragedies happen in our families, we are going through divorces, or facing unemployment. Yes, sometimes it seems that the moon is without light. But today’s scripture readings give us the message that what we often call the light at the end of the tunnel is really the hope of God’s grace that comes through the darkness. God has the power to bring light to any situations of our lives.
The message of the end time is not meant to impose fear in us but instead should awaken us to remain watchful and live in hope, no matter how dark things sometimes appear to be. Instead of worrying about end time events, we are asked to live every day of our lives in loving God and loving our brothers and sisters.
These messages of hope and love can sustain us, no matter what we are going through. We can have faith that there is always hope. We do not ever want to stop in the middle of the story, when the sun seems to be darkened or the stars appear to be falling. This is not what Jesus teaches us in the Gospel.
Jesus tells us that God will never leave or forsake us. We need not fear the hardships we will face in life, for God will provide us with the strength and grace to cope with whatever life brings our way. And, if we are willing to cooperate with God’s grace and rely on God’s help during our times of trials and tribulations, God will bring good out of the difficulties we experience. And remember, there is always God’s Sign of Love around us!
Let us recognize God’s presence and the power of love in our everyday lives — through happiness or disappointment — and always remember that the Lord comes to us without warning. Let us remember that the Lord is present whenever we treat each other with gentleness, generosity, and thoughtfulness. Then we begin to experience heaven as a reality. So, let us try to live by the words of Mother Teresa: “Do ordinary things with an extraordinary love!”