Eschatology - the "last things" - is the order of the day on this next to the last Sunday of Pentecost. Whenever there are twenty-six or more Sundays in Pentecost, the twenty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost has to be one of the last three Sundays of the cycle/season; it is automatically eschatological by nature of its relationship to Christ the King Sunday (In some years, it will be Christ the King Sunday), but also by the eschatological theme of the Gospel for the Day in Mark's Gospel. As was mentioned earlier, the thirteenth chapter of St. Mark is considered to be the heart of his Gospel.
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Oscar Wilde penned a powerful story about behaviors and definitions and justice called The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian was a handsome young man, a model of physical beauty and moral virtue. People complimented him on his good graces. Parents pointed to him as an example to their youth. One artist even painted an exquisite portrait of him.
"Have you seen it?" whispered the Barbie doll to her next door neighbour.
The next Barbie doll in line was instantly alert. There were five different Barbie dolls, who lived jumbled together in the toy cupboard but who were so jealous of each other that they rarely spoke. "Seen what?" asked the second Barbie doll, blue eyes darting all round the room.
"The Princess," replied the first Barbie with glee. "Caitlin's done her hair and it looks terrible!"
These verses from Mark's gospel are a call to commitment, a call to sacrifice, and a call to give up everything of earthly value in life. To say these are difficult verses is truly an understatement. It is pretty clear that the disciples are not at all ready for what Jesus is saying. They are not ready for Jesus to die and they certainly are not ready to die themselves.