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Friends, in today’s Gospel passage, Jesus speaks of the time when the plan of God will be fulfilled. Some philosophies defend a circular or cyclic understanding of time. They hold that time just continually circles back on itself, repeating like the cycles of the seasons. The modern philosopher Nietzsche spoke of the “eternal return of the same.” That’s a mythic consciousness, and it can be found all over the world.

But the Jews had a very different sense of time, what we might call “linear.” They felt that time was moving somewhere, that it had, under God’s direction, a purpose. The past was not simply there to be repeated endlessly; rather, the past was a preparation for a definitive future. It was an anticipation of what God would do, what God was going to accomplish.

The Lord assures us that the kingdom of God is near and that we must prepare for its coming.