The Gospel according to Luke (21:5-11)
While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”
Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, thank You for being with me, even when things seem so out of control in the world. I trust that You have overcome the world! Help me as I spend time now reflecting on Your words in today’s Gospel, and help me to rely on Your love and Your presence in my life today and always! Amen.
As we move through this, the last week of the liturgical year, the focus continues to be on the prophecies of Jesus, especially about the “end times”. Today’s Gospel begins with a prophecy He made that was fulfilled within the lifetime of those who followed him from the start: the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. In the year AD 70, Roman general Titus laid waste to that building, and remarkably, it has never been rebuilt. Only one wall remains of it, the “wailing wall”, where Jews still offer their laments to the Lord.
The rest of today’s Gospel was Jesus’ prophecy about those “end times”. By the time that the Gospel writer committed these words to writing, there was much question about whether or not this prophecy too would be fulfilled in the lifetime of those who read these words. We know now that they were not fulfilled that quickly. It’s a reminder of how God controls the timing for all the prophecies found in the scriptures. We can respond to that in one of two ways: first, losing our faith, because of the delay and of wondering why God doesn’t just get on with fulfilling the prophecies; or second, ponder why it is that the fulfillment may be delayed. I’d like to focus on the second of those options. Why would God delay fulfilling the coming of the end of the age?
We can never claim to know the mind of God in this matter. But, what we do know of God is that He is all-loving, all-forgiving. We know that He sent Jesus to be the One to draw us all closer to Him, if we choose to do so. A God who is all-loving would naturally want *all* of His children to discover Him and walk closely with Him and then live forever with Him in heaven. There’s one hitch in that plan – God also gave us free-will. He gave us the ability to choose a course other than the one He set before us. I don’t think I have to say what that other course results in, do I?
So, God delays in His prophecy to give more and more of His children the chance and the time to turn back to Him. God does not want to lose even one of His least ones. He wants all to join Him forever. He needs for us to help with that work, and to do what we can to share His light in our world. Some, of course, are called to do that directly as evangelists, pastors, bishops, lay leaders, catechists, and so on. All of us are called to live a life that stand out and shines Jesus’ light. If we do that, we may never know who that light reached.
That is what we should focus on. We should focus on how we can expand the family of God that does join Him forever in heaven. And, we should trust in the same God who forgives each of us that His plan is the right one. No matter what happens around me, may I be worthy of the call given to me, and may He give You strength, too, to be one of His beloved children, and for us to be co-workers with His Son, Jesus the King.
Closing Prayer: Jesus, thank You for being with me and for the example You set for me. May I love like You, and share that love and light by my actions today and always. Amen.
Action for the Day: Let us today think of our pastors and offer prayers for them, that the ministry given them by Jesus may be fruitful in their actions and may they always be instruments of Jesus’ love in our midst.