Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

Posté par diaconos le 10 novembre 2021

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The coming of the Lord

The parousia is a Christian notion that designates the « second coming » of Christ to earth in his glory, the first being his birth. This definitive, eschatological coming (at the end of time) is distinguished from the resurrection of Jesus, which involves a double promise, that of coming in glory (his parousia) and that of the resurrection of the dead.

The symbolization varies between Catholicism, where Christ is in glory and majesty, and Orthodoxy, where the expectation is symbolized by an empty throne. The word « parousia » comes from the ancient Greek word παρουσία, parousía, a term meaning « presence » and formed from παρα (« near », « beside ») and ουσία (« to be »). In early Christian writings, especially those of Paul of Tarsus, the word signifies the coming of Christ among men.

Adolf Deissmann has shown that the term appeared as early as the third century B.C. to denote the official visit of a prince or high dignitary to a city to demonstrate its magnificence. In Hellenistic philosophy, the word describes the actual presence of the deities. Plato also used it to describe the presence of ideas in things.

The fourth-century Nicene symbol professes the parousia in the following terms:  » Sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria iudicare vivos et mortuos, cuius regni non erit finis. (He is seated at the right hand of the Father, he will return in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end) Augustine of Hippo, in book XX of the City of God, quotes texts from the Old and New Testaments that refer to the day of judgment.

From the Gospel according to Mark

24 In those days, after much distress, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars will fall from heaven and the heavenly powers will be shaken. 26 Then the Son of Man will be seen coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 He will send angels to gather the elect from the four corners of the world, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven. 28 Let the comparison of the fig tree teach you : when its branches become tender and the leaves sprout, you know that summer is near. 29 Likewise, you also, when you see this happening, know that the Son of Man is near your door.

30 « Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened. 31 Heaven and earth shall pass away; my words shall not pass away. 32 No one knows that day or that hour, not even the angels in heaven, not even the Son, but only the Father. (Mk 13:24-31)

The Coming of the Lord

In those days, after this affliction, there will be a cosmic upheaval. The Son of Man will come on the clouds and send his angels to gather his elect from all parts. Jesus instructed his disciples with a parable of the fig tree. « This generation will not pass away until all things have come to pass. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away » (Mt 24, 35).  No one knows the hour, neither the angels nor the Son, but only the Father. Watch, then, as the servants and porter whose master is traveling. Mark has moved on to the last cycle of this prophecy with a particle that makes one wait for a new subject.

To mark the order of the times, he has used this vague expression: in those days, after this tribulation, and has thus avoided the expression of Matthew: immediately after, in which exegesis has found great difficulty. This distinction of times seems particularly clear in Luke (Lk. 21,24-25), who, between the ruin of Jerusalem and the precursor signs of Christ’s return reported in the three Gospels, makes this remarkable prediction : « And Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Lk 21, 24)  « And then he will send angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven.  » (Mk 13, 27)

Matthew says :  » from the four winds, from one end of the earth to the other end of heaven. » Mark expressed the same idea, because by the end of the earth and the end of heaven he meant, like Matthew, the visual horizon formed by the apparent conjunction of earth and heaven. The foundation of the primitive Church is Jesus Christ himself, who, having left his disciples in ignorance of the day and hour of his return, in order to keep them in holy watchfulness. In the same discourse, he will fix this great final event which will be fulfilled in his own generation and which will coincide with the ruin of Jerusalem, thirty-seven years later! This contradiction is found in all of Jesus’ predictions of the distant future of his kingdom, especially in most of his parables.

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian websites

◊ Monastery Benedictibne of  Christ in the desert : click here to read the paper → Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

◊ Fr. Dennis Moorman, MM : click here to read the paper →  Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Silverio Reyno : how to prepar for Jesus Christ’s Return

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