and a person on the house-top must not go down, or go in to get anything out of their house:
watcher on the roof
I’ll catch you
there’s no time
to take anything
I’ll run with you
To emphasize the need for speed and running to the hills, to your garden, to a wilderness, Mark gives specifics.
The first is for those in the city. There is no leisure spot to be a couch potato. In the cool of the evening, when it is time to talk with your G*D Partner about the day just completed and prepare for a new day not bound by this one, there is no time to even say “Amen”. Anything not proactive is betrayal. We can’t laze our way into better.
This is not an appeal to run that you can live to fight another day. This returns us to Baptizer John. All the multitude from Jerusalem that left to find John in the wilderness bellowing about Isaiah’s “straightway” and baptizing changed hearts need to be joined by those of today who have finally focused on the disaster around them and need to get mobilized.
This is an echo of Abraham’s warning to Lot to flee the abomination that results in desolation when Neighb*rs are abused, when a Belovedness-creating G*D is replaced with anything that will serve us and avoid our having to serve or deacon in the world. Be diligent in your fleeing. There will be no time to catch a glimpse, over your shoulder, of what is already burning like the never-ending garbage in old Sodom’s Gehenna.
The “desecrating sacrilege” (see Daniel 11:31, 12:11) and Mark’s cryptic editorial comment (“let the reader understand”) in 13:14 refer to the final Roman siege of Jerusalem. In the tradition of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 21), Jesus calls for his followers to abandon the defense of the Temple-state as a lost cause. The conditions described in 13:15–18 certainly reflect the plight of wartime refugees.
Today, with the increase of refugees everywhere, we see the results of a quick flight. Travel with no change of clothes, with no extra provisions, takes us back to Jesus’ sending forth messengers two-by two. Before a healing is available, there needs to be an awareness of how dire the situation is—12 years bleeding, a daughter dying.