As chapter 13 of Mark’s gospel begins, Jesus’ disciples admire the beauty of the temple but Jesus prophesies that it will not stand. The disciples want to know more about the future. Jesus tells them and us that we live in a birthing process. Wars, earthquakes, famines, trials, betrayals are birth pangs. The God who creates is the God in whose hands all will come together. We participate in this birthing process.
If we place the history of the world in the framework of a single day, Jesus is born shortly before midnight. The cosmos has evolved through a 13.7-billion-year birthing process.
In the big bang all the energy that exists flared forth in a vast unfurling, a trillion-degree blast so powerful the universe is still expanding. In this cosmic birthing process the original fireball expands and cools, hydrogen and helium bond, gravity pulls matter together slightly faster than the universe expands, constellating into trillions of separate clouds of hydrogen and helium — the galaxies. The clouds fracture into self-imploding nuclear furnaces — the primal stars.
About 5 billion years ago our Milky Way galaxy forms, then our solar system, and four billion years ago, bacteria evolve. Life begins.
All that exists shares this violent birthing process, these transformations that create the diversity, the communion, and the consciousness we know. We live in a vast cosmic pregnancy.
On this 1st Sunday of Advent the new Church year begins and the gospel invites us to wait intentionally at the threshold of the future. Jesus’ words promise that he, like the estate owner in Sunday’s gospel, will return. Our faith calls us to embody hope and practice love in our world.
- How do you participate in birthing peace on earth?