Fire, Brimstone, and Swallows

At Holy Mass today, we read the fearful prophecy of Daniel about the Second Coming of Christ and the final judgment of the world. Lord Jesus referred to this very prophecy immediately before the verses of St. Luke’s gospel which we read today. “The four winds of heaven stir up the great sea… The Ancient One takes His throne, with wheels of burning fire. A surging stream of fire.” (Daniel 7:2,9) “People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world.” (Luke 21:26)

They will die of fright. Then Jesus immediately segued into a fig tree budding. The gentle signs of summer coming. Like the swallows returning to Capistrano.

A stunning transition. From fire and brimstone to figs. “Know that the Kingdom of God is near.” The kingdom of God is fire, brimstone, and figs. Figs that bloom like little bundles of eiderdown, softer than a small bag of cotton balls.

Sodom and Gomorrah burned for depraved self-indulgence, for moral dissipation, for utter estrangement from the truth. Then the Great Judge came to world Himself, the Lord of Sinai, the King of all righteousness—He came and vindicated Himself; He exercised His unquenchable zeal by…

…dying, with a wounded Heart, on the holy cross.

The Truth, that vanquishes all evil with irrevocable thunder—He comes in sweet mercy, like a gentle fig bud, to anyone who humbly strives to live in His love.