The coming of the kingdom of heaven

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - November 14, 2015 - 9:00am

It’s the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time and today’s gospel reading speaks of the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. This reading comes from Mark 13:24-32. More often than not, when one speaks of the coming of God’s kingdom, to many people, it also means that the end of the present world is upon us. But there are various interpretations on this and the Lord Jesus Christ clarifies this issue to his disciples. 

“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 the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory, 27 and he will send out the angels and gather (his) elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

28 “Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches become tender and sprout leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates. 30 Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

32 “But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

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Allow me to add the last verse on this passage from Mark on verse 33, which the Lord says, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” Let me point also to you and earlier verse in Mark Chapter 13 on verse 22 when our Lord tells his disciples, “False messiahs and false prophets will arise and will perform signs and wonders in order to mislead, if that were possible, the elect. Be watchful! I have told it all to you beforehand.”

Why then was this question asked from our Lord? Let’s go back to the gospel reading last Thursday, which comes from Luke 17: 20-25 which reads, “The Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God was to come? He answered, “The Kingdom of God is not like something you can observe, and say of it, “Look, here it is! Or See, there it is!’ for the Kingdom of God is within you. And Jesus said to his disciples, “The time is at hand when you will long to see one of the glorious days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.

Then people will tell you, ‘Look there and there! Look here!’ Do not go with them, do not follow them. As lighting flashes from one end of the sky to the other, so will it be with the Son of Man; but first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.” This is why our Lord Jesus had to explain to his disciples how things would end on this earth because the ancient people believed that when the Kingdom of God comes, the end of the earth that we know of is coming to a close.

This scripture passage is a sort of prophesy that means that when the Son of Man comes with his angels and his glory, it means that the old order on earth is over and done with and human history is about to come to an end. Just imagine what things would be like in the new order…where heaven and earth come to pass and is no more…but the words of our Lord Jesus Christ would never pass. This could only mean one thing… that the Son of Man is coming in his glory to bring justice into this world or what’s left of it!

This Sunday also marks the last passage of the Gospel of Mark and therefore this is the end of our Liturgical Year cycle B. The end of this Liturgical Year is known as the “Little Apocalypse.” In a sort of way, it summarizes the verbal exchange of our Lord Jesus Christ with the Scribes and the Pharisees, who just cannot see God in the face of our Lord Jesus and in the end, they condemn him to a excruciating death on the cross so he could enter into his glory, something that the Jews even today failed to see.

What we have established here is crystal clear message from this scripture passage…. That as our Lord Jesus Christ pointed out to us in plain words, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Wow! Heaven and earth will come to pass…but the words of God will never pass and will always remain with us. But the Lord Jesus Christ did not just make this prophecy and ended his talk… he added a very important detail for all of us to reflect… “But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

These days there are many signs out there that tell us that the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is upon us and would happen very soon. With the Russian armies now fighting the ISIS terrorists in Syria, they are not very far away from the Biblical Armageddon, the final battle between God and the evil one who opposes God, which was prophesied in Revelations 16:16. Yet despite all the telltale signs, we can all take comfort from the reality that our Lord Jesus Christ told his disciples, “Only the Father knows!”

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For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@mozcom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

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