Homilies by Rev. Andrew Collis unless indicated otherwise.
‘It’s the end of the world as we know it’
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke each conclude with long eschatological-
What do these terms mean? Eschatology is theology with a focus on the “last things” (Greek: eschaton = end) and deals with doctrines about the end of the world, final judgement and the afterlife. It looks forward to a better time, either in terms of another realm, heaven, or a radically transformed earth, the kin(g)dom of God. Apocalyptic is a common variant of this end-
Eschatological and apocalyptic views are highly political. They claim via visions of a new epoch that the current status quo is anything but idyllic or godly, and that the reign of God can come only by way of radical change. This style of literature radically undercuts the state’s claims to divine blessing. As such, it is a literature common to those with little stake in the present age: the marginalised, the poor and rejected. We know its strongest expression in African-
The icon we have before us today is of Nano Nagle, an Irish woman who co-
The artist has chosen a youthful image of Nano Nagle, alive with colour. She stands in calm majesty, suggestive of patience and endurance. In the centre of the icon (just beneath the image as we have it) the Sacred Heart of Jesus is depicted. At Nano’s feet is a group of children. The side panels of the icon (parts of which are shown in our image) elaborate some of the events and symbols of Nano Nagle’s life. These include: spiral motifs, the Celtic symbol of eternity and of Abba God; the tabernacle, recalling Nano Nagle’s devotion to the Eucharist; a tiny window illuminating a cramped room, suggesting the poverty-
We have this icon today not just as an inspiring example of fiery faith in God (a kind of eschatological hope for a world to come), but also because this week sees the opening of Nagle House, Cana’s newest community, on the Feast Day of the Presentation, or Presentation Day (Wednesday the 21st of November). Nagle House in Flinders Street, Darlinghurst, will provide a safe space for up to seven women in need of support towards healing and wholeness.
In the presence of eschatological-
By attaching the apocalypse to the temple (“huge stones … wonderful buildings”), Mark wants to inform us that while the temple had recently been destroyed by the Romans (in the time of Mark’s writing) it had already been destroyed in that Jesus had symbolically destroyed it by his entry into Jerusalem and the overturning of the tables. His sacrificial death also marked an end to sacrifices in the temple (which is the meaning of our Hebrews reading). By linking the triumph of God in the final judgement to an account of the Passion, Mark is making the claim that despite the greatest evil that can be done, as seen in the horrific death of one as good as Jesus, evil does not have the final word.
Apocalyptic is the literature of hope for the most oppressed and suffering. Mark is showing us that the evil experienced by readers in the first century (at the hands of the Emperor Nero), the same sort of evil experienced by Jesus, is not the final word. The final word is with God and the triumph of good. That is what apocalyptic is all about. It serves as a means of enduring present oppression in the knowledge that God will offer vindication. In all our work for justice (and there is none more urgent than that toward abuse-
Let’s complete the homily together by praying for Nagle House and for all projects born of otherworldly hope – all projects that see houses opened to God’s future … Amen.
Draws on a sermon by John Queripel.