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Thursday, 10 November 2022 14:30

Not so soon

When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, Jesus said, ‘All these things you are staring at now - the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.’ And they put to him this question: ‘Master,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that this is about to take place?’

‘Take care not to be deceived,’ he said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.’ Then he said to them, ‘Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

But before all this happens, men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name - and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. ‘Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself will give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’ (Luke 21:5-19)

Reflection - Not so soon

Passages of Scripture, like today’s Gospel, can leave us feeling disturbed.

Talk of destruction, wars, revolutions, persecution and betrayal by close family members can be quite unsettling.

We have to read the Gospel as Luke’s community would have received it, knowing that the Temple and Jerusalem had already been destroyed (ca 70AD) at the end of the Jewish-Roman war, some 10-20 years before Luke’s Gospel was written. In the light of that destruction, and the ongoing persecution by both Romans and Jews, perhaps many in Luke’s community thought the end was near.

Looking at the world today many of us, too, are dismayed by the wars, persecutions and destruction in our own day.

Like Luke’s community, perhaps we, too, long for a saviour to come to our rescue, to make it all right. Maybe that is why so many are prepared to put their trust in harsh dictators who promise to make things right and restore a sense of control and national identity, even at the expense of basic human rights.

The words which Luke places on the lips of Jesus are designed to comfort and give hope. Jesus warns them not to listen to those who think they know God’s plan for the end of time – rather, they should know that God is with them always and no matter what happens.

The Church must continue its journey (persevere) in spite of all sorts of difficulties and persecutions. Like Jesus, the disciples will be vindicated by God with the gift of eternal life.

Download to read or print our Celebrating At Home prayers, reading and reflection for this Sunday:

pdf Celebrating At Home 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time [PDF] (2.96 MB)                                   
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