By: Fr. Sean Templeton
How do I really set priorities in my life? What do I see as the necessary things? What are the important things? Who are the important people? How do I spend my time? How does my certainty in Jesus' return change my view of life? Is it close enough in my mind?
28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, eat the very gates. 30 fTruly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 31 gHeaven and earth will pass away, but hmy words will not pass away.
No One Knows That Day or Hour
32 “But concerning that day or that hour, ino one knows, not even the angels in heaven, jnor the Son, kbut only the Father. 33 lBe on guard, mkeep awake.1 For you do not know when the time will come. (Mark 13:28-33)
Scripture Union Meditation
We should be convinced of the certainty of Jesus’ return, as certain as the budding of the fig tree announces summer. The signs of verses 5–23 will happen in the lifetime of those listening (30) and continue throughout history. They are not, however, to be taken as asserting that the coming is immediate. The phrase “is near, right at the door” (29) “must be taken to mean that the end is sure, not that the end can be plotted in time” (Larry Hurtado). The certainty is underlined further by the enduring nature of Jesus’ words (31).
Assurance must never breed complacency... (Scripture Union)
If you are like me, you have what I like to call "fleeting moments of mortality." I suspect that I am not the only one. These are moments when you realize that you are a bit older today than yesterday. You think, "that ache is new" or "what did I do yesterday to bring this on"? I had one of those moments last week sitting at the doctor's office. There I sat. As the automated blood pressure cuff squeezed my arm periodically, I had around 5 minutes of silence to myself.
At first I busied myself with the things on the wall: the diplomas of the doctor, the certifications from the state board. I looked at the years and could not help but to think about my first visit to the doctor regarding blood pressure. Then I got to thinking about my mortality. None of us live forever on this earth. I hope that I am not yet to the mid-point of my life, but what if I am closer to the end than the beginning? Am ignoring the certainty of the end? As Christians we trust in Jesus for the next life and - of course - this is warranted. After all, he promises "I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2). But then I got to thinking, "Am I really convinced of Jesus' return or is it some nice comfortably distant future event?" As I was thinking on this the doctor came and stopped that train of thought. This meditation brought me back to it.
Sometimes, the things of the Bible can seem so remote. It can seem like a distant reality at best, but in reality it is the imminent and present reality. Jesus asks us to "be alert" in the Mark passage above. What does that mean? How does that interrupt my daily routine? I think part of it is living more with the certainty of his presence and return than the "certainty" of daily life. How do we keep the right perspective? This Advent I continue to strive to be alert to Jesus' reality of my mortality and Jesus' return in daily life. In short, I want to be certain of and in the end. Will you join me?