Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gospel Text for Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Mark 13:24-37 Jesus said to his disciples, "In those days, after that suffering,

the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Then they will see `the Son of Man coming in clouds' with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

"From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

"But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake-- for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake."

1 comment:

  1. Watch, be on the alert, keep awake! What a strange thing to say following the gospel writer’s apocalyptic description of “those days, after that tribulation, (when) the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken... heaven and earth will pass away…” I mean, how could you sleep through all of that?

    And then I remembered what someone told me about his experience of receiving healing prayer. After receiving communion he, let’s call him George, went to the kneeler which was pretty close to the flow of communion traffic to and from the altar. A priest and two lay ministers welcomed him. The choir was singing right next to the kneeler so it was a bit difficult to hear. All in all the scene was pretty busy, if not chaotic. Nonetheless George said, “During the anointing and the prayers it was as if everything else went away. It was only prayer. I no longer heard the choir. It was as if all the people in the church were not there. I was embraced in pure intimacy.”

    Could this be what the writer of Mark’s gospel was talking about? A moment of pure Presence, encounter with the One, undisturbed by the swirling circumstance of sun and moon and stars and heaven and earth? Could this be what the Christian mystics are talking about when they describe being present to Presence? Could this be the Eternal Now penetrating the vicissitudes of ordinary experience?

    By faith George received the body and blood of Christ then knelt before God asking for healing. Perhaps George’s heart and mind and soul were aligned and awake such that right in the midst of the great cacophony he became still, entered the secret room and encountered the Divine, “the Master of the house.” The gospel’s apocalyptic words pretty much describe the daily global news. It gives me comfort and hope to think that if I stay alert and receptive right in the midst of the ongoing apocalypse I too might encounter the Eternal Now, the still Presence of God.