Saturday in the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-28

The Coming of the Son of Man

Today’s passage finally comes to its climax: The coming of the Son of Man, Jesus’ favorite self-designation.  This is our great hope, this is what we are supposed to be praying for: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  If we are not praying for this each and every day, our priorities are out of order or our lives are too easy.

There is a “problem” with the passage in Matthew which I wish to address before moving to the passage as a whole.  I say, “problem,” in quotation marks because the problem is with us, not the Bible, for “the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalm 19:7-8).  So we assume that if we cannot understand something, the problem lies with us while asking the Lord for more light in the meantime.  At any rate, Matthew begins by saying, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days,” suggesting that the second coming (which is what the following passage is about) was to happen immediately after the fall of Jerusalem (which is what the previous passage is about).  But as I have said already, I do not think that those passages which relate specifically to the fall of Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15-28) do not likewise have a bearing on the tribulation that will come in the latter days; that is, I think the two events are combined by our Lord on purpose as the two are equally cataclysmic, and our call to faithful witness is the same for both events.

And now, the wonderful promise of the passage: the Son of Man is coming to gather his chosen ones from all the world over, and not one will be missing.  Preceding this will certainly be great distress, just as awful as the siege of Jerusalem so long ago.  The Bible uses such language as “stars falling from heaven” to describe the significance and singleness of such events.  Then shall appear the coming of the Son of Man, “and all the tribes of the earth will mourn.”  Jesus told his disciples that they would lament while the world rejoices (John 16:20).  But there is coming a great reversal when the world shall lament and God’s people rejoice (Revelation 18:9-19:8).  Some think this “unchristian.”  Really?  Did not the Children of Israel sing and dance over the destruction of the Egyptians (Exodus 15:1-21), and do not the martyrs under the altar cry out for justice (Revelation 6:9-11)?  So Luke tells us, “When these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”  Maranatha!

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