The gospel reading paints a rather grim picture. It speaks of the fall of the city of Jerusalem, the destruction of its people and disturbing signs in nature. Reference is also made to wars, to great upheavals and to the fear they generate. Yet Jesus assures his disciples that this awful prospect is not the complete picture. This grim time is also the moment when the Son of Man will appear in great power and glory. In the time of greatest darkness, a light begins to shine (John 1:5). The Son of Man comes to redeem us. Those who are open to his coming will experience liberation. There are times in our lives when our own world can appear to be falling apart. Disturbing events happen over which we have little or no control; we can be left shaken and frightened. But the gospel passage invites us to the conviction that the Lord is close to us above all in those moments of trouble. When the wind blows strongly against our boat, He comes to us to be with us and to save us (Mark 6:45-56). It is out of this strong conviction that the Lord will never abandon us that the Psalmist sings “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Ps. 23: 4). He stands by us in his risen power, giving us strength in our weakness. His presence has the power to liberate us from our fears and to give us the confidence to stand erect with our heads held high, in the words of the gospel reading.