“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.” ― Søren Kierkegaard
(Gospel text: Mk 13:24-32)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"In those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
"And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds'
with great power and glory,
and then he will send out the angels
and gather his elect from the four winds,
from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.
"Learn a lesson from the fig tree.
When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves,
you know that summer is near.
In the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that he is near, at the gates.
Amen, I say to 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 of that day or hour, no one knows,
neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
Let’s take a short quiz.
The first question is a general one: what goals do you have for your life? The second is a bit more specific: what are your goals for the next five years? And the third is even more specific: what are your goals for the next year? Take a few minutes to write down your answers. Now one final question: imagine that you knew Jesus was coming back tomorrow. How would your responses to the previous three questions differ?
When a friar asked St. Francis what he would do in this situation, Francis, who was gardening at the time, said: “I would keep hoeing my garden.” What about you? Would you keep going about your business? Most of us would make some last minute changes. The lines at the confessional booth would probably reach out the church door and down the street for a few miles. Local parishes would run out of hosts because of the many people coming in for their last Mass. The phone lines would probably be jammed with people calling family and friends trying to make eleventh hour reparations. What about that last call to the poor? With no need to keep food stocked up, we can hope that people would be willing to give more to those who are hungry, sort of a last meal for the poor.
But this is all fanciful speculation. Jesus told us that no one knows when the end will come even he doesn’t know! So our best strategy is to live each day as if it were our last. We should try our best always to be at peace with the Lord and with the people around us. We should also make sure we are taking care of the needy in our midst.
Then, whenever Jesus returns, we’ll pass the quiz.