Moon traveling across the sun,
Image taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory
Signs in the sun and moon and stars
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you must realise that she will soon be laid desolate. Then those in Judaea must escape to the mountains, those inside the city must leave it, and those in country districts must not take refuge in it. For this is the time of vengeance when all that scripture says must be fulfilled. Alas for those with child, or with babies at the breast, when those days come!
‘For great misery will descend on the land and wrath on this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive to every pagan country; and Jerusalem will be trampled down by the pagans until the age of the pagans is completely over.
"There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.’
Reflection on the Nasa Space Painting
Sometimes we don’t need to look for artworks to find art. This photo taken by one of the Nasa space shuttles is pure art and shows the beauty of God’s creation in full display. The image is not digitally enhanced, and just taken in HD. As today’s reading mentions ‘there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars’, I went to the Nasa website (www.nasa.gov) to find a suitable image for today, and I must say I have been overwhelmed with the stunning photographs. The fact these images exist, is almost as amazing as the beauty they show. Unlike artworks produced by artists wether they are portraits, landscapes, sculptures etc, these photographs are not the product of one human artist creator, but they simply reflect the creation of the Master Creator Himself.
When Luke wrote today’s Gospel, he wrote it after the destruction of the Temple took place, and so he knew and witnessed what Jesus had foretold. Him mentioning the sun, moon, stars, was to place these tragic events into a wider context. To try and make sense of the here and now, look at the stars and place these events into a wider, eternal, infinite context.
When Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth in April 1961, he carried centuries of hopes and dreams into space with him… he did something that people 2000 years ago, just like Luke, could only have dreamed of… When Gagarin arrived back on planet earth, he was asked so many question of what it felt like to be up there. What seemed to have impacted him the most was the view of Earth within it: ”Circling the Earth in my orbital spaceship, I marvelled at the beauty of our planet,” he continued, "People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty, and not destroy it."
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