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Monday, November 16, 2015

Learn A Lesson From The Fig Tree

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Nov. 15, 2015
Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson, AZ

In today’s Gospel (Mark13:24-32), we focus
on the end times and the great cosmic battle. We are reminded that the world we live in today is passing away, and we are to keep our hearts focused on the world that is to come!

After Our Lord describes the dramatic scenes of what will take place during the end times, He says, “Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates.”

As He does often in the scriptures, our Lord shows us that the mysteries of God are revealed in nature. He uses examples from nature to point out signs for those with eyes to see. These signs point to when the prophesied events of the last days are near.

We do not know the time and hour when Our Lord is coming, but our Lord gives us signs to watch for when He is approaching.

What signs should we watch for? He said there will be wars and rumors of wars, but it will not yet be the end. Nation will war against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there will be famines, pestilences and many earthquakes. He has said that there will be signs in the sun, the moon, the stars. The weather will become violent. The nations of the earth will be deeply troubled and confused because of the roaring and tossing of the sea. These are the beginning of the sorrows of the tribulation.

“In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” 

Fr. John Paul Shea
My brothers and sisters, as we reflect on 
today’s Gospel passage we are reminded that we are living in a battle. We are living in a struggle. The trials and struggles, the wars, the violence, the acts of  terrorism, the hurricane Katrinas, the tsunamis… all these things are part of the growing pains that we are going through as we await the return of Our Savior.

Are we living in the time of the second coming of Jesus today? We don’t know. But Our Lord calls us to keep our eyes focused on the signs of the times. 

We have many signs today that tell us that we are living in a time of great change and upheaval. In fact, evil today is rampant! Just the other day, as you are aware, there was a shooting and rampage in Paris that has killed over a hundred people. Disregard for human life is so common today that the average person is numb to the distance  humanity has strayed from God!

We must pray and stay close to the teachings that Our Lord handed down to us. We should pray for the intercession of Blessed Mother Mary and Saint Michael.

In fact, today's readings (Daniel 12:1-3) remind us of the power of Saint Michael. In the end times, “there shall arise Michael, the

great prince, guardian of your people; it shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time.”

Saint Michael is the angel God has chosen to fight the devil. We need to call upon Saint Michael because the devil is on full attack today in our world, and he is leading many Catholics away from the truths of our faith.

In fact, it was a little over 100 years ago that Pope Leo XIII had composed the prayer to Saint Michael to help us today against the dangers which threaten our faith today.

It is said that on October 13, 1884, after Pope Leo XIII had finished celebrating Mass in the Vatican Chapel that he suddenly stopped at the foot of the altar. His face turned white and he stood there for about 10 minutes, as if in a trance. Then, Pope Leo immediately went from the Chapel to his office and composed the prayer to St. Michael.

When asked what had happened, Pope Leo explained that as he was about to leave the foot of the altar that he heard a conversation between the Lord and satan.

Pope Leo recounted that satan was boasting to our Lord saying, “I can destroy your Church." Our Lord then said to satan, "You can? Then go ahead and do so." Satan then responded to our Lord saying, "To do so, I need more time and more power." Our Lord asked, "How much time? How much power?” Then satan responded saying, "75 to 100 years, and greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service." So, Our Lord said, "You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will."

My brothers and sisters, this revelation given to Pope Leo XIII back in 1884 is being manifested in our time today. Satan will never prevail against our Church, but he is attacking our Church with much fury as he turns many hearts away from the truth!

In today’s Gospel, Our Lord says that at the time of His coming that the angels will gather the elect.

Our Lord is gathering His elect now! He is calling us to be faithful among a twisted and degenerate society.

There will be difficult times ahead for all persons on earth in the future, and there will be difficulties and persecutions for our Church as it seeks to be a beacon of truth in a society that is rapidly losing sight of what is beautiful, sacred, and eternal!

But, as Christians we are to look at the end signs not as signs of doom but as signs of hope! We have hope because we seek not this world but the world that is to come, when all evil is destroyed and the humble inherit the earth.

Let us set our hearts not on this world which is passing away, but let us set our hearts on the fulfillment of the Kingdom that Our Lord has come to establish. Come Lord Jesus!

Did you enjoy this piece? There's more Fr. John Paul Shea. Perhaps you would like to read REFLECT: What Do You Need to Cut Out of Your Life?


  1. Fr John Paul Shea brought to mind many things of importance. Yes we are to pay attention; watch for signs. Using the fig tree, when leaves are green,we know the season. This in the Gospel o Mark. In the Gospel of Matthew, fig tree symbolized as death. It was not season for fruit, Jesus was hungry right then,being not the tree's time it had no fruit. Jesus made the fig tree die-never to give fruit to anyone again. The Apostles were amazed & perhaps puzzled. As with Our Blessed Mary with Baby Jesus in Arms also Dear St Joseph on Temple Steps for custom. It was here Simeon kne and proclaimed God could now take him for he had seen The Messiah. Simeon also reminde Mary Her Precious Chid would be a contradiction within the world. Simeon being a known Prophet said to the loving Mother of Jesus, her heart/soul would be pierced through. I will have more to say- don't want to loose this. I will return here. Much within thes Scripture words Ivysnow3567

  2. I lost my message again! No idea why and often. Hope the other nessages reached you. In Scripture we have so much. If we don't read we won't know. So yes fig tree is great example. One sign if times other death,even though was not right time. It is'nt up to us time. Jesus gave us several examples of readiness; His authority re calming of the sea.Jesus calmed the sea & quieted the strong wind, so yes He can cause the fruitless fig tree to never live again. All of creation is obligated to know & obey, in or out of season. As to what is happening in our time. We have always had horrible killings,war, slave trade. I'm not sur of such horrific human slaughter, senseless killings to include crucifixion of little children. Placing bombs in planes, many more to include suicide bombers. Cause own death to kill many. How can a person be persuaded to commit such crimes. Is this time Satan asked. This is work of Satan,his fallen army to include all people who have thrown away their humaness for satanics. Rember Jesus said He will be with us and help us even if we go through terrible suffering- but our reward....Heaven and there is so very much in this word; Heaven. We must get through this time. We must call upon Our Lord. Call loud for Jesus. Most of us must know we are in a Spiritual War. Our Govt is & will not Help. Just think of our laws.Think of God taken away- out of the equation. Does anyone think Our Lord is happy? How much will He accept ? We must wake up. We were given all we need. It's up to us to KNOW to learn & accept. We may be short on time. Ivysnow3567