November 14, 2015
33rd Sunday - B
My Words Will Not Pass Away
Each Gospel passage has at least three audiences.
The first audience was made up of the people who listen to Jesus or witnessed first hand his life events. The second audience was the people the Evangelist had in mind when he wrote the Gospel (often referred to as his community, eg. the Markan community in the case of today's passage). And we, listeners and readers of all future generation are the third audience.
The experiences and the reflections of the previous two audiences can help us listen to and reflect on God's words spoken to us today.
For both first and second audiences, the words of Jesus were fulfilled in their lives.
The day of Jesus' crucifixion, the sun was darkened, the powers in the heaven were shaken. Indeed, for Jesus' disciples – the first audience, their world was seemingly coming to an end.
For the second audience, Christians who lived in the Roman Empire probably around the year 70 AD, their world was also in turmoil. Nero had begun the brutal persecution of Christians. And for the Jewish Christians, Jerusalem was recently leveled by the Romans as punishment for the Jewish revolt. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed. Those were indeed the days of tribulation.
In those situations, the disciples of the first audience and Christians of the second audience also witnessed the fulfillment of Jesus' words, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
The Resurrection of Jesus conquered death and gave peace to his disciples. Their courageous witness and faith in turn strengthened Christians of the second audience.
May their witness continue to strengthen us when we face the tribulations of our own times.