By Shane O’Brien ‘22
The Word of God
‘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.
When the days seem to blend together from our repetitive daily routines, it is very easy to forget the importance of our faith. Especially when we have a lot of activities during the day, we may even put God on the back burner. Like every relationship, it takes work to have a relationship with God. We must spend time with God through prayer, church, or gratitude for the world around us.
In the Gospel reading, Mark 13:24-32, God tells about the end of times. Oftentimes in life, we may find ourselves believing that we are invincible. “God and the end of times can wait for my sports practice or studying for a huge test” may be common rationale for high schoolers. The truth is we are not invincible. Our time on earth is limited. Each of us has had a birth and each of us will have a death. With that being said, there is no need to feel sad! Mark 13:24-32 is actually a story of great news. When the end of time comes and the death of the earth as we know it, God “will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds.” God, through the teaching of his son Jesus Christ, reveals that his people will be saved! Our time is not infinite; but, if we are devoted to God, in death we shall find a rebirth through the Lord.
I believe God makes it a point to talk about the end of time to remind us that the only truly promised thing in life is salvation through the Lord. God understands we are imperfect. We get lost and mix up our priorities. This is the reason we have Scripture in the first place. He gives us truth in the form of Scripture to use as a roadmap. A roadmap to use when we get lost. Or when our vision starts to blur.
In the context of this Scripture passage, our blurred vision is that we have so much time that God can wait. That statement is false. Whatever person or thing we put at the center of our lives, all of our actions flow from that. A life done chasing riches, popularity, or other worldly attractions will lead to a life of regret and unfulfillment. Only through God do we find meaning and are able to be born again, into a new life.
We are all busy – whether it be academics, sports, or other activities, our time is being pulled by multiple commitments. So what can we do to keep our relationship with God strong? The small and little things we do add up. Prayer is one of the easiest and effective ways to keep a relationship with God. We can pray whenever, before meals, before bed or in the morning, and even when we are stressed at school, or maybe after a fun night spent with friends. There is never a bad time to pray. Second, go to mass. How do we know the people in our lives? Simple, we spend time with them. Choose to spend time with God. Third, my favorite way to connect with my faith is to practice gratitude. As members of the Saint Ignatius community, no matter your situation, we all have many blessings. In my moment writing this reflection, I am grateful to have the opportunity to share my thoughts on the Gospel with all of you reading this. I am grateful for the artists’ music I am currently listening to and I pray for them. I am grateful for this crazy gift of life. Recognize at least one thing everyday to which you are grateful for. Luckily for all of us, that should be an easy task. Over time, you will start to be more content and happy with your own life. Be kind to one another and make sure to take care of yourself today Saint Ignatius. God Bless.
– Shane O’Brien ‘22