To grasp what is written in the Gospel, close your eyes and imagine what it was like to stand in front of Jesus, together with other men and women, and listen to him talk about the Kingdom of God.
Go back to the scene where Jesus talks about the “angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man”.
Remember that the man speaking is from Galilee and speaks his mother tongue with the same Galilean accent that you have heard ever since you were a child.
The man is a carpenter, known by everyone to be the son of a carpenter named Joseph. He breathes the same air you breathe and eats the same food you eat.
The one odd thing about this man is the way he keeps calling himself the “Son of Man.” For instance, when he says: “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Of course, he is a son of man! Why would anyone insist on the obvious?
However, the phrase sounds familiar. Daniel made a famous prophecy about the Messiah, saying, “I gazed into the visions of the night. And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven, one like a son of man. He came to the One of Great Age and was led (by angels) into his presence. On him was conferred sovereignty, glory and kingship. His kingdom is an eternal kingdom.”
Knowing of all this, you accompany this carpenter as he goes from town to town. He keeps talking about the coming of God’s kingdom. He also keeps talking about God being his Father. He insists that his Father has sent him to lead everyone into the kingdom of heaven, the way Moses was chosen to lead the people of Israel to the Promised Land. But claims about the kingdom seem tame compared to what he says about the angels. He insists that angels will worship him and surround his throne when he comes to judge all men and women at the end of time.
The modern world, with all its science and technology, looks at these claims and laughs. How can anyone believe it? It must be—surely it must be—an exaggeration.
Assuming the end of the world ever comes, is some man, born 2000 years ago, really going to appear with millions of angels and determine who goes to heaven and who goes to hell?
The centuries roll by. Nothing changes. It takes faith to believe that Jesus is the Risen Lord, that he is the King of kings, that he is the Son of God. If it was hard for the disciples of Jesus to believe, let’s not be surprised that we also have to ask him, as they asked him, “Increase our faith!”