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November 11, 1994     The Message
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November 11, 1994

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g't November 11, 1994 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana I III II IIIII -- Commentary--- Signs of the times: Return of Jesus Gospel commentary for No parousia fever. It is Mark's pat- vember 13, 1994, Thirty third " - tern of a one-year ministry of Sunday, Ordinary Ti, Cycle f ' Jesus that se'ts the pattern for, B, Mark 13:24.32. I both Matthew and Luke. Mark s As . , . Jesus seems to run from one event winter approaches the : to another That impression in Church reminds us every year of :: "7 ,ained bv Iai'k's constant use of that section of the gospels that I  II le word"immediately. There :tls withthe end of time and the V II seems to be no doubt that Mark rn Otdesus In the Gospel of  ex-,ected a nuick end of hme and Mark this subject takes u  v -, . . cha-t^- -.. . p all of m __, I the return of Jesus. When this did SOe; nlrteen. ThB chapter is By FATHER not happen, the later gospels of t l,uno ,,,c, ......... remrred to as. "The Lit- DI DILGER Matthew and Luke had to deal the"=YP, se because it contains COLUMNIST with a crisis of faith caused by New'TeSlmllar to a much longer m this non-event. Matthew and Revel:,ament book, the Book of Luke have different explanations lypse n, Which by some is called "The Apoca- of the delay as do other New Testament books. . ,e word " ,, ...... Gr.-- - apocalypse 1s derived from a Amon our fundamentahst Chnshan rosters  verb meaning "to unveil," i e to reveal and brothers parousia fever is as rampant as it events of the end times. Our Church reserves two Sundays for this subject, toda,, and the first Sun- day of Advent, two weeks from now. Most of New Testament ht ticinat: ..... " erature is full of an- ,ua ol the return of Jesus, the final judg- inert, and the end of time The re known k, ,t turn of Jesus was %a./"y ne technical term "parousia" meaning uvent, visit, return, etc." Parousia fever was un- restrained in earliest Ch that ..... nstmmty. It s a theme .  uas throu , - tnbut,  hout Paul s letters and letters at- Paul _ laul" In his earliest letter known to us covaemres with confidence just how the end will uout by the time he wr kno ..... ote his final letter Seeo us, the Letter to the Romans he doesn't -'), ue quite so sure. our tour gospels Mark is most infected with was in New Testament times. Preachers and "scholars" keep setting dates for the end even though the Gospel of Mark depicts Jesus as say- ing: "... of that day and that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the son, but only the Father." The phrase, "nor the Son", caused difficulty from the beginning. It occurs in both Mark and Matthew. Many manuscripts of Mark's gospel omit it, as do even more ancient manuscripts of Matthew. That the Son would speak of himself as ignorant of something was too big a pill to swallow. Luke knows how to treat it. He omits it. The list of people who have seen the end coming and even set dates reaches from the first century to our own times. One of the signs of the end was to be the appearance of AntiChrist. St. Am- brose, fourth century bishop of Milan, saw pagan in- vaders of Italy as Antichrists and proclaimed the end to be near. In the twelfth century Abbot Joachim of Flora was even more precise. He pro- claimed an "Age of the Spirit" as the last age of the world. It was to take place between 1200 and 1260 A.D. William Miller, a Baptist layman and founder of the Adventist movement in America set the date of Jesus' return for March 21,1843, hut had to revise the date to October 22, 1844. There are many date- setters of our own time. Just like the Thessalonians of the first century, people sell everything and wait, sometimes in the nude, for Jesus' return. The usual result is embarrassment and sunburn. The amazing fact is that, despite all the self-deception and decep- tion of others, this whole business of setting dates has not been discredited. Basic to all this senseless speculation is the lack of understanding of the Scriptures in the con- text of the timein which they were written. Too often the Scriptures are understood as if they had no historical setting and were in no way influenced by the ideas and misconceptions of the times and people who wrote them. One might ask first why God would feel bound by our calendar. Maybe God uses the Chinese calendar or some other. Whatever the "that day or that hour" may be, the underlying message that comes through all the speculation of the New Testament and later is that Christians are always to live in such a way that they would be ready to meet their judge at any time. Readings: Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11-14, 18. PLEASE SUPPORT'MESSAGE ADVERTISERS JASPER LUMBER CO. 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