Friday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(Daniel 7:2-14; Luke 21:29-33)
John Donne’s meditation “No Man is an Island” is reminiscent of Jesus’ parable in today’s gospel. A bell tolls in Donne’s essay, and people ask, “Who died?” The point is that a tolling bell should remind everyone that she or he is going to die. Similarly Jesus uses the image of a fig tree to tell his disciples to take notice to what is happening around them.
Just as the budding of the fig tree foretells the coming of summer, the destruction of Jerusalem augers the return of Jesus in glory. Although his return has not yet taken place in a definitive way yet, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70. Apparently the “times of the Gentiles,” which Jesus refers to earlier in the long passage, is still in effect. Nevertheless, billions of people have come to their individual end in death. Jesus’ words then should be taken as a warning of this eventuality.
We prepare for death by living as justly as possible. First, we owe God constant and fervent thanks. Then we must care for ourselves and those closest to us – family, co-workers, and friends. Finally, we need to assist the poor. We have to use our resources to help them live with dignity.