Daily Readings: Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; I Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37
“But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 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.
“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. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
” But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, or the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his own work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake – for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.” Mk. 13:24-37, NRSV
According to the pamphlet stuck under my windshield, the world was going to end on October 28th, 1992. There were diagrams and quotes backing up the claim – mainly from the books of Daniel and Revelation, but also from today’s reading. Like the Millerites in 1844, the 1992 end-of-days believers were not to see the end of days.
These apocalyptic passages, these end of days narratives, were never meant to be taken literally. They aren’t puzzles with chronological solutions: they are images pointing us toward two profound spiritual realities:
God is near.
We remain unaware of God’s nearness because we don’t really expect the presence of the holy.
Advent is our annual call to awareness and wakefulness, a time to look around and look within. And it just might change how we live the rest of our days.
May both shadow and light guide you to God-With-Us.