This weekend we are remembering all our loved ones who passed away this past year. We are called to remember them, but the church in a special way invites us to pray for them in the month of November. This weekends reading is a very suitable message for the Mass of Remembrance. It talks about end time - eschatology. Eschatology is a reflection on last things. At first glance this weekends reading appears doom and gloom. We live in the present age and we look forward to the world to come. In this present age we are enslaved to evil powers. The readings assure that our God will be with us all the days of our lives and that we will have the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst guiding us.
We hear a Gospel passage from Mark chapter 13. In the Gospel of Mark chapter 13 takes a turn and starts to talk about eschatology. Christ foretold his Ascension as well as his second coming, when we will judge the living and the dead. We read in the Book of Daniel 7:13, “As the visions during the night continued, I saw coming with the clouds of heaven One like a son of man. When he reached the Ancient of Days and was presented before him…” Jesus identifies himself with the royal figure of Daniel (Mark 13:26).
Jesus uses the image of the fig tree. Jesus says, "Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near (Mark 13:28).” Jesus talks about doom and gloom signs, actually he is giving us hope.
Jesus says that on the last day, the angels will gather the elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky. By the way, Jesus also says that no one knows when the last day will come. The sum of the reading is to be prepared: build our personal relationship with God, sharing with others the Good News of Jesus.
Early Christians did not look at this message as doom and gloom. Instead they saw it as a time when the Lord would return to his people and correct the injustices of the world. In the same way, the first reading from the book of Daniel, gave comfort to the Jewish people who were going through persecution. The reading introduces the belief in the resurrection of the dead and mentions everlasting life. In the Gospel of Matthew 22:30 we read, “At the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in heaven.”
Prophet Daniel says that the archangel Michael is the guardian of God’s people. The Prophet calls him God’s Prince. So, we just heard that when the final days come, Michael will gather God’s people together, including those who have died. And, the reading says, the wise will shine brightly.
In the second reading from the Hebrew, Jesus offered himself for our sin. Today when we hear the word of God, don’t be afraid, but fill with hope. Our God is love, and he did everything because of his love for us. He is going to do great things in and through us.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our Junior Confirmation candidates as they make their commitment. Also, our first reconciliation children who made the commitment last Sunday. Let us join in our prayer and support them.