SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS
This week's Gospel is a parallel to that of the feast of Christ the King. Jesus predicts the destruction of Jerusalem. He develops the idea further, to include a description of the end of the world. He teaches that there will be cosmic signs in the sky to herald these events. Jesus adds the idea that the "Son of Man" (a phrase that means "human") will be seen in the heavens, coming on a cloud. The book of Acts--also by Luke--begins with an angelic prediction of the same event. We can't be sure of the nature of these "signs". They may refer to actual physical events involving planets and the sun. Equally possible is the explanation that Jesus is talking about the "powers of heaven" and political governments, doomed to fail.
A JUST SHOOT
Judaism, like Catholicism, is a connective religion. This means that individuals do not have to carry the burden of salvation alone. We are saved by our link to others in our faith: we're all in it together. For the Jewish people this is hereditary. God promised to bless Abraham and his descendants. This explains why there are so many genealogies in the bible — Abraham was the father of Isaac, and so on. The most important family tree was that of King David. The "just" or honorable "shoot" would be part of that tree. Jeremiah predicts this and points to Jesus.
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