“The Son of Man is coming be on your Guard”
We begin today a new year in the Church’s liturgy with the first Sunday of Advent. Most of the reading during this year, Year C in the missal, will be taken from the Gospel of Luke. Today’s Gospel comes from one of the last parts of the Gospel. We may expect it to deal with the birth of Christ, as Advent is a time to prepare for it. In fact, the reading is about his second coming. Jesus warns his disciples to be ready to meet their master. We are in Jerusalem (Lk 20 -21) and the confrontation with the Jewish authorities is going to lead to the death of Jesus. The rising from the dead, will however, overturn the apparent victory of his enemies (Lu 22-240.
“A Kingdom not of this world”
Today’s Gospel is the last in Liturgical year B which was devoted to the reading of the Gospel of Mark. Mark’s Gospel is shorter than the others and John’s is used to supplement it. The passage taken helps us understand the meaning of the feast of Christ the King. We see Jesus before Pilate who questions him about his identity and the accusation that he is “King of the Jews.” Jesus explains his kingship. It is different from that of kings of this world.
“Jesus is coming again”
In chapter 13 of Mark’s Gospel Jesus speaks about the end of the world and his second coming in glory. The occasion for the speech, according to Mark, is a question put by Peter, James, John and Andrew, four of his disciples, while they were sitting down on the Mount of Olives facing Jerusalem. They feel that the end is drawing near but they do not know when and how it will happen. Jesus assures them that he will come again but when and how he will not say. They must be vigilant.
“The Widow offers all she has”
During his ministry in Jerusalem. Jesus spent much time debating with the religious leaders. He also found time to teach the people regarding what God wants of them, as we see in today’s Gospel (Mk 12:38-44). Having warned his hearers against merely outward religious practices that are performed only to attract attention, Jesus invites the disciples to be like the poor widow he sees making her offering in the temple. She gave generously from the little she had to live on.
“The Two Great Commandments”
Jesus has reached Jerusalem. He challenges the heart of the Jewish religion by driving out the traders in the Temple (Mk 11:15-19). The opposition to him is now at its height and religious leaders try all they can to trap him and arrest him. A first test is about paying taxes to Caesar (Mk 12;13-17) and a second concerns the resurrection of the dead (Mk 12:18-27). Jesus wins both arguments. Today’s Gospel, the last test, is about the greatest commandment. Jesus replies that the heart of the Law is a total undivided love of God and of one’s neighbor