The Gospel according to Luke (21:20-28)
“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must not enter it, for these are days of vengeance, as a fulfillment of all that is written. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the times of the nations are fulfilled. There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Reflection: What we hear in today’s gospel is the Great Tribulation and the Return of the Son of Man, Jesus. Anyone who reads this would more than likely feel fear. As I read this I can understand why so many think we are in the “End Times”. Wars, famine, rampant murder, mass shootings, and so much darkness. What are we to do?
This made me think of the journey we take from conception to birth. We exist in a warm, safe environment where we are fed by our mother’s body and our physical development is exponential. Then comes the day we are born. It is a chaotic, stressful, and scary experience. Our journey goes on as we continue to depend on others for all of our care until one day we are able to take care of ourselves. In the days, weeks, months, and years that may follow we seek to find what makes us who we are. Through life experience, education, hardships, and triumphs we are forged into someone who will one day cease to exist in our physical form. To a person who does not have faith and hope, this may seem like a pointless journey. BUT to we who believe in the promises of our Father we know the end of our physical lives will be our transition into our eternal existence.
The last verse of this gospel passage is intended to remind us that the point of our journey is to remain faithful to God and be sincere in our efforts to live a Christian life. Whether our time here on earth ends together or individually Jesus will come for us. Throughout our lives, in the good times and bad we are encouraged to give thanks. From the moment of our conception to our death we have ALWAYS been accompanied by Jesus. In suffering and joy, He has been there at every moment. And, when we are called home, we can stand erect because Jesus is our redeemer. Fear is the result of the absence of faith and hope. For those who recognize and accept these gifts we have no need to fear our loving and forgiving God. Let us give thanks, surrounded by family and friends, that we have been redeemed and will one day go home to our Father who loved us so much he sent His son to destroy death and give us the gift of eternal life.
Action of the Day: Not everyone will be blessed with a family gathering and lots of good food. There are many whose difficult existence is not lifted by the love and care of others. Consider transforming gratitude for the many blessings we receive into action. Today more than ever there is a great need for kindness and charity. Do not stand on the sidelines. Get involved and make a difference in the lives of those in greatest need. Happy Thanksgiving!!