by Erik Ritland
The Word and the Church
Bible commentary following the Catholic Lectionary (which gives an overview of the entire Bible) by the Fully Alive staff
Friday of the Eight Week in Ordinary Time
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I Pet. 4: 7-13
Mk. 11: 11-26
The end of all things is at hand.
Therefore be serious and sober-minded
so that you will be able to pray.
Above all, let your love for one another be intense,
because love covers a multitude of sins.
I Pet 4:7-8
The first words of Jesus’ ministry are telling: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk. 1:15). The kingdom of God is at hand – it is here! The ministry of Jesus – which drives out demons, gives the blind their sight, and teaches the ways of God – shows us that he inaugurates the kingdom of God. The ultimate sign, of course, is his crucifixion and resurrection.
When St. Peter says “The end of all things is at hand” he is saying that we are living in this kingdom moment, a completely new era brought to fruition by Jesus through his life, death, and resurrection. This kingdom, as Peter reminds us, is deeply rooted in prayer and especially in an "intense" love.
The long Gospel reading tells us of the gathering storm around Jesus before his arrest. The curse of the fig tree represents the coming destruction of Jerusalem. The current system of the Temple wasn’t bearing good enough fruit – as indicated by Jesus’ need to cleanse it – and because of that it would face the same fate as the fig tree.
Note: the kingdom perspective in my commentary on Peter is largely indebted to the writings of N.T. Wright, especially his books Jesus and the Victory of God and Simply Jesus.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician. He is the lead staff writer and podcast host of Fully Alive Christian Media and Rambling On, which features commentary on music, sports, and an intellectual ragbag. He was also Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blogs Curious North and Hometown Hustle. Reach him via email.
Erik Ritland received his MA in Theology in 2017. He's the founder and content manager of Fully Alive Christian Media and Rambling On, copy editor and writer for Music in Minnesota, and an acclaimed songwriter.