November 17, 2013: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
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?”
“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.
“Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” (Luke 21:5-19)
After a disappointment or a mistake, we sometimes shrug and say, “It’s not the end of the world.”
But when an earthquake, flood, hurricane or other natural disaster occurs, it can feel like the end of the world, as can the human-made disaster of war.
If our family is struck by death, divorce or violence, it’s very likely that our own world feels as though it is coming to an end.
Jesus wants to warn us that troubles of one kind or another are bound to happen, but he also wants to comfort us with the knowledge that God’s love and protection will be with us always.
Watch for an opportunity to comfort and help someone whose life is turned upside down by catastrophe.
This might mean listening sympathetically to a heartbroken friend. Or it could be helping an effort by your church or school, such as a collection or a mission trip, to aid disaster victims. In any case, if you hear or think, “It’s not the end of the world,” add the thought, “But even if it were, God would still be with me.”