“But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell 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 about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
We are directed towards signs in this Gospel: a darkened sun, an unlit moon, falling stars, “the Son of Man coming in clouds”, etc. Yet in doing so the Gospel itself is employing even deeper signs. It is directing the hearer and the reader toward imagery in other parts of Scripture. If we pick up a Bible today, we can pick up on these references because the editors have footnoted them for us. But the first hearers would have made the connections without the footnotes. And one of those that they would have been familiar with is the image of clouds. In the Old Testament, it is God who comes on clouds. It is a rich way for Jesus to say that we must be watchful for God, the core of the Ignatian phrase, “Finding God in All Things.”
What are the signs present today of God’s presence?
Lord God, you promised us that you remain with us, but sometimes we have a hard time recognizing you in our midst. Help us to read the signs of your presence, through the people, places, and experiences that make up our daily lives. Increase our awareness of you in all that surrounds us so that we may find you in all things. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer team
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