First Friday of Advent

Mark 13:24-37

Reflection—v.30, ‘This generation will not pass away…’

We tend to read Jesus’ last parables and his teaching here, sometimes called the ‘Little Apocalypse,’ as referring rather obviously to what we call the Second Coming.  While there is something to learn about his coming again here, I am convinced Jesus is speaking directly to his contemporaries–about that first Advent.  After all, ‘this generation,’ he says, ‘will not pass away until these things have come to pass.’  Surely, those who were most self-consciously religious and who had, by their fidelity to their faith assured themselves they were awaiting the kingdom of God, would be surprised that, in fact, they missed it.  For God did not ‘tear open the heavens’ and send his enemies running, as they–and we–imagine.  God comes instead in a poor prophet, leading a movement of outcasts and the poor, sitting at a welcome table that turns no one aside, proclaiming forgiveness for all rather than vengeance for enemies.  Could we be too confident in our own preconceptions to see his coming?

Prayer  Oh Jesus, you come to us, almost quietly–yes, tenderly–healing the sick and feeding the hungry ones; let me not miss your merciful coming to me now.