St. John Fisher Roman Catholic Church

30 Jones Hollow Road, Marlborough, CT 06447

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time B21

Almost every generation has some people who are sure the end of the world is about to happen. So far they’ve been wrong.

What are the signs of the coming of the Son of Man? Daniel says it shall be a time unsurpassed in distress. Jesus in Mark’s Gospel, the signs will be in nature: the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; stars will be falling from the sky; the heavens will be shaken. Matthew gives other signs:  hearing of wars and reports of wars; famines and earthquakes[1]. The Book of Revelation adds thunder and lightning. These signs are what we fear the most, outside of personal illness. Who is not afraid of war, famines and earthquakes, severe thunder and lightning; and, I will add: strong winds, tornados, cyclones, hurricanes, and excessive periods of blistering heat or bone-chilling cold? At the time these texts were written, there wasn’t Doppler radar to warn what was coming nor an explanation what caused them. Today we get nervous or a little afraid when get warnings of dangerous weather. Imagine being surprised when there’s no alerts.

Apocalyptic visions, that is, forecasting catastrophe, do seem to be all about terror. But they also include an aftermath of God’s activity for the good of humanity. Daniel’s “time of unsurpassed distress”[2] sets the scene for the appearance of Michael, the protector of God’s people. Jesus promises when we “see these things happening, know that he [the Son of Man] is at the gates”[3], the one who is the conqueror of sin and death. God will always take care of His people.

That is the Good News!

When will it happen? “But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”[4]

What should we do? Be ready and continue to live according to Gospel values. Then there is nothing to fear.


[1] Cf. Mt.24:6-8

[2] Daniel 12:1

[3] Mk 13:29

[4] Mk 13:32

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