No one knows the day
A better knowledge of apocalyptic language, made up of images and a resource of symbols that are used to speak of the end of the world, allows us today to listen to Jesus’ hope-bringing message. We do not, then, fall into the temptation of sowing anguish and fear in people’s consciences.
The exciting history of human beings on earth will reach its end one day. It is also what modern science foresees. The world is not eternal. This life will end. What will become of our struggles and works, of our efforts and aspirations?
Jesus speaks soberly. He does not want to feed morbid curiosity. He cuts out at the root every kind of attempt at speculation with calculations, dates or periods. “Of that day or hour, no one knows …, but only the Father.” No psychosis as one confronts the end. The world is in good hands. We are not walking towards chaos. We can put our trust in God, our Creator and Father.
From this starting-point of total confidence, Jesus expounds his hope: the creation now will end, but it will be so as to give way to the new creation, which will have the risen Christ as its center. Is it possible to believe something so grandiose? Can we speak in such a manner before anything takes place?
Jesus resorts to images that everyone can understand. One day the sun and the moon that give light to the earth and makes life possible will be darkened. The world will be in the dark. Will human history become extinct too? Will our hopes end likewise?
According to Mark’s version, amidst the darkness one will see the “Son of Man,” that is to say, the risen Christ, coming “with great power and glory.” His saving light will illuminate everything. He will be the center of a new world, the principle of humanity renewed forever once for all.
Jesus knows that it is not easy to believe in his words. How can he prove that things will happen thus? With surprising simplicity, he invites us to live this life as spring. Everyone knows spring by experience: life that seemed dead during winter begins to awaken; tiny leaves bud forth once again on the branches of fig trees. Everybody knows summer is near.
This life that we know now is like spring. There cannot be harvest yet. We cannot obtain definitive gains. But there are small signs that life is in gestation stage. Our efforts on behalf of a better world will not go to waste. No one knows the day, but Jesus will come. With his coming, the ultimate mystery of the reality we believers call God will be unveiled.