A co-worker asked me what I thought of Matthew 24. I came up with this response.
Typically, it seems that Matthew 24 is interpreted to discuss the end of the world, or the apocalypse.
To me, there are a couple of things going on in this reading. The first is a warning of the end times; the second is to live a righteous life because you never know when the end times will come.
The thing I find interesting in the Gospels is Jesus often refers back to the old testament as a way to provide validity and weight to his own words at the time. He is reminding the apostles of the teachings they would have already encountered, reinforcing what they already understood from the old testament. Examples of references to the OT are in verse 15 and verse 29.
My own interpretation of this is that there might be a time when people have so ruined the world that it will come to an end, i.e. through nuclear destruction or perhaps environmental devastation. Or, one could interpret this to mean that no one knows when death will arrive. I think the Catholic recitation of "Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead" refers to this Gospel (and other places), but to me, I see that the apocalypse could also be interpreted as our own individual apocalypses we experience at death, which is inevitable for each of us.