Mark 13, 14 and following
Luke 21, 25-33
There exists a legal year, a solar year and also a liturgical year perhaps less known. It starts with the time of Advent, a time of preparation for Christmas. This year 2008, the 22nd of November was the last Sunday of the liturgical year and the 29th was the first Sunday of Advent.
temps de préparation
All that comes to an end is accompanied by some sadness; on the contrary a start brings some hope with it, both cases are accompanied by some anguish: fear of the novelty and of the unknown. The time of ending and beginning are times when life and death confront each other. Even if this confrontation is not always tragic and extreme, it still exists in transition periods. The end and the beginning of the liturgical year reflect such a strain that is visible in the biblical texts given for reading on Sunday. They report about the last days and they are full of fear and apocalyptic events. The word apocalypse that means “disclosure” and “revelation” has become a meaning of a catastrophe, but paradoxically the texts announce among all these signs of disasters the coming of the Son of man, the coming of the kingdom of God who is love and peace. We are having the two realities, an end and a beginning, like the recto/verso of a piece of paper.
“There will be signs in the sun, in the moon, in the stars and upon the earth, distress of nations facing the roaring of the sea and its waves and men’s hearts will fail for fear of all the disasters coming into the world.” This description is then followed by a peaceful comparison with the fig tree; ‘when it is budding you know that summer is coming close, the same when you will see all these signs you will know that the kingdom of God is close.”
un nouveau monde In a similar way the death of Jesus on the cross was followed by earthquakes and darkness to mean the end of a world and three days later the sudden appearance of a new world.
If the end of the liturgical year is represented by apocalyptic events it is the sign that something is going to happen, that all is not finished, that a re-birth even a re-creation are possible. It is the great message of the Christians: the death will not have the last word. A seed of eternity is present in any deathly life. Death is not suppressed but it is the passage to a different life. Even full of hope, this passage involves anxiety and distress. Only the confidence in Somebody who is loving us and is looking for our happiness can bring some serenity in that crucial moment.
The first Christians thought that the return of Christ was imminent. They had to learn to wait. Jesus had already told them that we do not know the day or the hour of these events: we have to watch over and stay vigilant.
On our planet we see the human beings putting into danger their own survival and provoking natural disasters by greediness. Scientists or photographers, observers of our planet, are pessimistic. We see well the end of our planet. In the mean time these signs push us to do something: we cannot afford anymore to pollute and shamelessly exploit the earth. An outbreak, provoked by fear, is emerging by understanding how much we are, each one of us, responsible for the management of the goods necessary to every body.
une terre nouvelle These worrying signs could become the prelude to a peaceful and respectful world. It is now that apocalypse has the sense of a disclosure. Through these terrifying events, is it not possible to see a mutation that prefigures the coming of “new skies and a new earth”?