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November 15, 1991     The Message
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November 15, 1991

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11 ]  I jle be p' iate] oh' t,  isel . IV 7t0i ,tV hS 0 4 1 | | i 1 4 h !:-- = __November 15, 1991 i The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana i Commentary I I  Mass Readings Gospel Commentary for Sunday, Nov. 17, 1991, Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time, ( cle B: Mark 13:24-32 I I The end of the liturgical year once again ap- Froaches For at least one of these final Sundays t'  gospel is taken from Jesus last discourse. Like tl  other discourses or sermons of Jesus in the g pels, this one also should be thought of as a c JJection of sayings of Jesus. Mixed in with these Sayings are statements adopted and adapted from the Old Testament and editorial statements by the author. Much of the imagery should be regarded a symbolic and not as an exact description of v at is to take place at the end of time. This last discourse or sermon of Jesus comes ' us in three forms, Matthew, Mark and Luke. rk's version is the oldest and serves as the h asic material for Matthew and Luke. There are, .OWever, great differences between the three ver- SZons, a clear indication that none of them are the .exact words spoken by Jesus. Each of the authors k s influenced by the events of the time in wllicn J is living and by his own theological view of t.  end of time and the return of Jesus. t, Christians at that time, as still today, believed nat there would be certain signs as the end ap- 1; 'oaches Certain things will happen within the ( aristian" communit,, and to the individual. There ill be some great calamity followed by the ap- pearance of false messiahs Finally there will be lgns in the sky. These signs in the sky are tile m" st part of today's gospel. Mark speaks of the C,tinued from page 1 I Ver 20 days now, I can no ger visit m arents A t 1-h U' mere ]s no more 'P one connections. 7 Signs in the heavens: The r0000turn of Jesus as son of man darkening of the sun and moon and the stars falling from heaven. Earthquakes will take place also. Are we to expect a literal fulfillment of these "predictions?" This is unlikely since they were already used in the Old Testament to predict a "Day of the Lord," when Yahweh would inter- vene to vindicate his suffering chosen people and judge their enemies. The most we can say is that this is what the authors of the gospels thought would happen. Paul also made predictions of the end that did not come in his time, even though he was convinced he would be among the survivors who would be "snatched up." That was 1,950 years ago. Belief in the resurrection of Jesus together with his obvious physical absence from the Chris- tian community resulted in considerable specula- tion as to his return. The same type of speculation centered on the return of Elijah the prophet. Some even thought Jesus was Eliiah. To express their speculation about this return or "parousia," preachers, teachers and authors turned to the Old Testament for thoughts and verbal expressions used to describe that "Day of the Lord" men- tioned above. As the Old Testament expressions referred to Yahweh, so their new use in tile gospels refers to Jesus. Mark speaks of the "Son of man" coming in clouds with great power and glory. This is a refer- ence to Daniel 7:13-14: "I saw in the night visions .... with the clouds of heaven there came i Today our home village, Nova Gradiska, was bombed. "Children go no more into the schools. They play alone no more. And when they i play, they play war. What a tragedy! The towns Petrinia, Gospic, Osijek, Vukovar, Vinkovci exist only as ruins. Everything that can be de- stroyed is destroyed. In Osi- jek, the hospital is also de- stroyed. The sick are being taken care of in the basement. There are no more health care stations. Children are being born in underground shelters. 5 one like a son of man, and he came to the An- cient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and king- dom." In Daniel, written about 165 B.C., the "son of man" is a symbolic figure representing the Jewish people in contrast to the symbolism of various animals representing past and contempo- rary empires earlier in the description of Daniel's vision. Two hundred years later the concept of this "son of man" had evolved into a messianic individual and Christian theologians saw Jesus as this individual. So what should we do about these dreadful predictions we hear every year as winter ap- proaches? What we should not do is listen to preachers who are always setting tile date for the end. They know nothing more than the authors of the gospels knew about it, and they knew very little. At the end of today's gospel Mark gives us the real answer: "Of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." There is certainty about only one end, the end of our own life on this earth. Our concern must be directed primar- ily to this end and our preparation for it. The ap- proach of winter reminds us of the end of our life on earth. It is fitting that this gospel be recalled at this time to remind us to prepare to meet our Judge. Other readings for Sunday, Nov. 17: Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11-14, 18. Cuntic with two dedicated Franciscans exist no more. Everything was destroyed. Gasoline was poured over it and set afire. A woman, who cleaned a church, was killed with a machine gun. Bullets were left in her body shaped like the sign of the cross. The parishioners who did not flee lie dead in the fields are in their barnyards. There is no one who can bury them. Miller & Miller "The abbey and church of ....  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