Gospel: Lk 21:20-28
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 Jerusalem will be trampled upon by the pagans, until the time of the pagans is fulfilled. The coming of the Son of Man. 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. The signs of the times. So, when you see things begin to happen, stand erect and lift up your heads, for your deliverance is drawing near.”
Jesus continues his warnings of what is to come. He is pointing to the cause of such events – the corruption and greed of so many for which destruction was the inescapable outcome. So he calls them the “days of retribution” or the “time of punishment”, not indicating God’s revenge but the result human choice to do evil. Jesus speaks of various cataclysmic and apocalyptic signs to signal the end of time. They are typical biblical phenomena and not meant to be taken as exact foretelling of events. It is not intended to fill people with fear and trembling, except perhaps those who have chosen to make their lives miserable. But for the disciples, it is a time to reap what has been a life of service to others. Sufferings and rejections are part and parcel of living the Christian life and being purified in the process. There is no conversion without the fire of suffering and sacrifice. Living the way of Jesus is a ‘sign of contradiction’, a beacon of light to many and to others a threat to their way of life. But for those who have tried to live by the vision and values of the Gospel, for those who have tried to seek and find Jesus in daily events of their lives, who have spent hours doing good to others, it is the time to feel and witness God’s redeeming love to the full.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2018