Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus responds to questions about the end of the world. When will it come? What will happen?
Why were the first Christians interested in these questions? The simplest and deepest answer is that they had experienced the end of the world—precisely in the dying and rising of Jesus.
Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God, and the nations conspired against him. The old world seemed to conquer this new world that Jesus embodied. But then, in the Resurrection, they saw that the old world—the world predicated upon death and the world that had done Jesus in—was now defeated.
So awed were they by the Resurrection—and you can sense it in every book and letter of the New Testament—that they awaited the imminent arrival of the new state of affairs, the return of Jesus and the establishment of God’s kingdom. Though Jesus did not immediately return, the old world was over, broken, compromised, its destruction now just a matter of time.