When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that the time has come when it will be reduced to a wasteland. If you are in Judea, ﬂee to the mountains! If you are in Jerusalem, leave! If you are outside the city, don’t enter it!
For these will be the days of its punishment, and all that was announced in the Scriptures will be fulﬁlled. How hard will it be for pregnant women, and for mothers with babies at the breast! For a great calamity will come upon the land, and wrath upon this people. They will be put to death by the sword, or taken as slaves to other nations; and the pagans will trample upon Jerusalem, until the time of the pagans is fulﬁlled.
Then there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth anguish of nations, perplexed when they hear the roaring of the sea and its waves. People will faint with fear at the mere thought of what is to come upon the world, for the forces of the universe will be shaken. Then, at that time, they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
So, when you see things begin to happen, stand erect and lift up your heads, for your deliverance is drawing near.”
At the end of the liturgical year and around the feast of Christ the King, the Church invites us to reflect on the last events of the History of Salvation.
Jesus gives us first the description of the end of Jerusalem by the Roman troupes, with special compassion toward pregnant women and mothers with babies.
Flavius Josephus, a Hebrew historian who witnessed the terrible siege of the city, has written about the horror of those days. In fact Jerusalem was defiled and the Temple was destroyed by pagans in 70 A.D. with abomination idols installed there after 135. But this pagan period seems to be provisory: “until the time of the pagans is fulfilled.”
Jesus opens his eyes to the end of the Salvation History with cosmic signs; then should be the judgment of the world and the solemn coming of the Son of Man in majesty with power and glory. Jesus however invites us to stand erect and lift up our hearts, because our final deliverance is at hand.
Isn’t that an invitation to the holy fear of God and deep confidence in his salvation?
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