33rd Sunday Ordinary Time - Year B
Michael the Great Prince
During November the Church asks us to think about the ultimate fate of our lives, what are called the "Last things". This refers to what happens after we die, and includes thoughts of hell, purgatory and heaven. In particular, we are asked to think about the Last Judgment.
On odd-numbered years we read selections from the last book of the bible, Revelation also know as the Apocalypse. This year we turn to the book of Daniel which has a similar section. The prophet has a dream or vision of heaven and the court of God. The archangel Michael is the commander of God's angel army. This passage is the oldest description of the resurrection of the dead. Prior to this the Old Testament did not teach such a rising.
No One Knows...but the Father
Jesus made several statements that appear to refer to the Last Judgment. Some scholars believe that they may be about the destruction of Jerusalem instead. It would happen in 72 AD. This could explain why he states that "this generation will not pass away..." The sun and moon may represent symbols of the authorities in Jerusalem. Of course, Jesus may be talking about both the fall of the City and of the end of the world.
An intriguing point is that Christ says that he does not know when this will happen, only the Father does. When Jesus became a human being he "stripped himself" of divine glory and knowledge. Apparently he feels that he might somehow let the information slip out accidentally and does not want to know.
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