Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, 18th November

Mark 13:24–27

Jesus said to Peter, James, John, and
Andrew, “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



As we are
coming to the end of the liturgical year, the Church wants to remind us that
this universe will come to an end one day. Then will come the general judgment,
when Christ will gather his faithful followers from the four corners of this


mentioned the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem and the end of the world
in the verses precedes today’s gospel reading. The destruction of the temple
took place in AD 70, forty years later after the crucifixion our Lord. As
regards the end of the world Jesus could not tell his disciples because this
was not revealed to him as man. However, he warned them to be ever vigilant
living according to the truths he had taught them.


At the
beginning of today’s gospel reading , Jesus uses the apocalyptic imagery of the
Old Testament describing the “Day of Yahweh” in Amos 5:18-20; Isaiah 2:12; and
Jeremiah 46:10 where the whole universe will break up. However, he tells his
disciples that when the present world ends, he, who is the “Son of Man” (see
Daniel 7:13), will come in “power and glory” to judge mankind. Thus his second
coming will be very different from his first when he came in humility and


Also will
come with him are angels, who are his servants and messengers. They will come
to collect his faithful from the four corners of the earth.


doubt, the message we must learn from today’s gospel is that we must always be
ready to face our judgment for we know no the day nor the hour when we will be
called from this life.


When or
how this world will end is of no great importance to us. What is important is
that we shall leave this world very soon and our eternity will depend on the
state of our consciences at the moment of our departure.


This is
the steady thought the Church wishes to put before our minds today. We all know
that we must die someday. We are strangers and pilgrims on this earth. We have
not here a lasting city. No sane person among us will try to deny this and yet,
many of us are so immersed in the things of this world that we forget or try to
forget that we must leave this world soon.


This is
very natural. Life is a precious gift and as our earthly life is the only one
of which we have experience our very inclination is to hold on to it at all
costs. Even when our intelligence tells us that it can end very soon we try to
convince ourselves that that “very soon” is really in the distant future.


We have
God’s word for it and the example of Christ’s resurrection to a life of glory.
Let us appreciate the truth that our death on earth is not the end of life but
rather the beginning of the true life that will never end. The liturgy in the
Mass for the Dead says well: “Life is changed not taken away”, because our
death is the doorway through which we pass into the unending life.


The years
on earth are a gift of God to enable us to earn the infinitely greater gift
which in God’s loving mercy he has prepared for us from all eternity. God in
his mercy is calling on each one of us to be ready when our call comes. We can
do nothing about the when or where of that call, but we can do much about the
state of our relationship with God when death comes.


A very
practical way to see how we stand in relation to God and to the things of this
world, is for each one of us to ask himself today: “How would I fare if I were
called to render an account of stewardship tonight?” This is the practical
question that God, through today’s gospel, is asking us to put to ourselves.