Thirty Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Lk 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?” He answered, “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.”
KEEP GUARD: The connection between the readings of today is the unpleasant truth told by the two figures: Daniel in the first reading and Jesus in the Gospel. Each of them uses fortitude to express God’s message. Jesus demands the gathering to guard themselves against being deceived by false prophets. He clearly shows us that there are signs for the end times. In our times many false prophets have come as false pastors, who have misled their followers. Other false prophets are in form of business men who have corrupted us with the spirit of consumerism. These compete in producing different products which have negative effects on human health. Regardless of the challenges we face, we are called to be prayerful and watchful in all we do.
PRAYER: Lord, grant me the gift of fortitude so as to communicate the truth as a Christian.
DEFEATING ATTRACTIONS: Daniel interprets the dream and lets the king prepare for the future. Daniel does not take pride over his wisdom, instead asserts that it is the God who revealed it to him. Vendors today are on the scene veiled as God’s anointed with authority and learning. A reputed sage gave a long discourse on God and mammon. As he finished his fascinating talk, he announced: “There are beautiful images available for each to take home”. But there are two types of images: of Jesus and Lucifer. One can imagine what image a devout religious group will pick. As people feverishly ran for the statues and walked out of the hall another announcement came. The statues of Jesus, is made of wood, but that of Lucifer is made of 22 carat gold. One could see the whole gathering rushing back for the golden images. Christian faith is an invitation to a steadfast belief in God. Hold fast to God under whose reign you are safe in spite of the dreadful portents and dangerous signs. Come alive with a lively, sound faith.
SEE THAT YOU ARE NOT DECEIVED: Often, we live our lives as if the present situations will be for ever and ever without end, Amen! In good and in bad situations; when we are successful and flourishing, we falsely believe that these conditions will endure forever. Similarly, when bad things happen to us, we think that there will be no respite. In the gospel today, Jesus reminds us that things are not here forever. As we approach the end of the liturgical year, this is an important message for us: everything comes to an end, except…, only God is permanent. So, the words of Teresa of Avila are very meaningful here: “Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you, all things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.”