33rd Sunday Ordinary Time Year B – November 15th 2015
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘In those days, after the time of distress, the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its brightness, the stars will come falling from heaven and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory; then too he will send the angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven.
‘Take the fig tree as a parable: as soon as its twigs grow supple and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. So with you, when you see these things happening: know that he is near, at the very gates. I tell you solemnly, before this generation has passed away all these things will have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
‘But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.’
The tree was a big image for Jesus – he spoke truths of his message pointing at trees, like mustard seeds which grew big, vines that withered, and the fig tree which was common to his hearers. When asked about the signs of things to come, he gave no long homily, but just looked at the fig tree and said you know from this when Summer and winter is coming. In the same way we can sense his presence in our lives in different ways.
This may not help us to know about the end of time and the questions people had then, but it can get us to become aware of how God is present in our lives.
The word of God is spoken in the human words of many people. In kindly words, in forgiving and tolerant words, and also in the word of God spoken in the Mass, Jesus speaks to us today. Like thepeople looking at a fig tree, we can find his presence in the kindliness and the helpful words of another. This is the word of God in human form. It will not pass away.
The care of God will not pass away. Each of us is in the book of life – with a job to do. Something written for all of us to make this world a better place. We are called to be friends of the earth…friends of all people…friends of the poor. That’s redemption, Jesus and us working in unison.
God’s book of compassion and love…your name and mine is in it. Be thankful our are names are in the book of life.
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger