The Lord said: I think thoughts of peace and not affliction.
You will call upon me, and I will answer you,
and I will lead back your captives from every place
Ent. Ant. (Jeremiah 29:11.12.14)
At the end of the liturgical year, this Gospel passage from Mark draws Jesus’ public ministry to a close. It precedes the story of the Passion, by which we are all made perfect (Second Reading).
Mark shows Jesus looking to the future, drawing on imagery about the last days (especially those found in the Book of Daniel, First Reading) to encourage his disciples before their ‘time of distress’. By including this piece, Mark gives support to the early Christian communities who were facing persecution under Nero and the loss of the Temple.
This same message is appropriate for us, today, who are called to ‘stay awake’, secure in the loving kindness of the One who gives his life as a ransom. It is a message of hope: that, in spite of disunity, all will be gathered; that, even in the face of death, God protects and shows us the path of life; that the important thing is to keep our eyes set on this one high priest and to entrust ourselves to his loving care.