I think we all wonder what Jesus meant when he said, “this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.” Certainly the then-current generation has come and gone, and it doesn’t seem like we’ve come to the end of the world. But the Church would pose two very important questions about the coming and going of that generation.
First, what constitutes that generation? Did Jesus mean just the people that were alive at that time? We tend to think not. All of us who believe in Jesus and live the Gospel are the members of his generation. Jesus came to create the world anew, and we are all creatures of that wonderful new creation. We will all live, in some way, to see the end of days, either here on earth, or from the joy of heaven.
Secondly, what was it that generation was supposed to see? They were to see the signs of a new creation. Just like the first buds of the fig tree and other trees that Jesus spoke about, all of which signaled the beginning of summer, so the signs of the new creation are evident among us. Sins are forgiven, people return to God, miracles happen. Granted, all these are imperfect in some ways now, given that they happen to us fallen creatures, but one day they shall be brought to perfection in the kingdom of God. Then, we will see “One like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven,” whose “dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.”