Friday of Week 34 of Ordinary Time – Gospel

Commentary on Luke 21:29-33

Jesus continues his admonitions about readiness for the future. The key is to watch out for the telling signs.

Just as with the fig tree, or any tree, the emerging buds of green indicate that summer is on the way. When the things Jesus has been mentioning are seen to happen, terrible as some of them seem to be, they are in fact the sign of summer:

…the Kingdom of God is near.

On other occasions, Jesus had said that the Kingdom was already present, but the Kingdom can be seen in different ways. The Kingdom is present wherever the values of the Gospel are being lived, but it will not be fully realised until the very end when all are gathered in Him:

Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place.

When Jesus says that “this generation” will not have passed away until all this takes place, it is not to say that Jesus’ final coming will happen in the lifetime of his hearers (as some imagined), but rather that, with his own suffering and death, the new and eternal dispensation which he inaugurates with the Kingdom will be under way. Ironically, the fulfilment of Jesus’ prophecy is inaugurated by the destruction of Jerusalem its Temple. It inaugurates a new presence of God in the world, a presence in “spirit and in truth”.

However, Jesus’ words could also mean that the Jewish people as a race (here referred to as “this generation”) will continue to exist till the end of time, to the final coming of Jesus.

Lastly, the world in which we live will one day disappear, but the words of Jesus, words of Truth and Life will be forever valid because they represent a vision of life and those timeless values which we understand as emanating from God, and to which every single human being is innately called.

As we come to the end of the Church year it is a time for us to make our decision whether we want to belong to the kingdom that Jesus is inaugurating, and not only to belong, but also to make its spread our life’s work. Then, no matter when he comes to call us, we are ready.

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