The whole of chapter 13 in the Gospel of Mark is devoted to a discourse about the future. In the section preceding this week’s passage, Jesus has foretold the destruction of the Temple and the fall of Jerusalem. He has also predicted war on a massive scale and the persecution of his followers. Now, in this passage, Jesus predicts the return of the Son of Man and the fulfilment of the kingdom of God. Why does the gospel include such an extended description of the collapse of the world as it was? Because that’s exactly what was going on around the community of this gospel writer! This gospel is understood to have been written somewhere in the period 70-75 CE. In the year 70 CE the city of Jerusalem was besieged by Roman troops who stormed the city and destroyed it. As a sign of complete disdain for the people of Jerusalem and a mark of overwhelming victory, the Romans burnt and completely destroyed the Temple in the heart of Jerusalem. For the entire Jewish community, this was absolute devastation. The destruction of the Temple surely marked the coming of the end times – the day of judgment and completion of this world. The community gathered around this gospel writer were no less affected. In the midst of this despair and fear, the followers of Jesus are challenged to remember the teachings of the one they follow. This passage is written for them as an encouragement to not give up in the face of what appears to be overwhelming odds. It is a call to hope.