November 13, 2016: Thirty-third 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?” He answered, “See that you do 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, you but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” (Luke 21:5-19)
“Do not be terrified.” Hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanoes are part of our evening news. We experience deep division in political views. It’s all pretty scary. But Jesus brings us right back to: trust me; trust the God who created you, trust the spirit alive in the people of God.
Jesus’ contemporaries were shaken badly by his prediction that the Temple would not stand as it had stood for generations. The Buddhists have it right: the only constant is change.
We are surrounded by change: changing weather patterns, changing political leadership, aging, children growing, updates of I-devices, new responsibilities at work, layoffs, seasons changing — not to mention the big ones: death of a loved one and birth of a baby. But Jesus’ answer is always the same: keep on doing what you’re doing, pray, trust and “by your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
We now know who our new president will be. But we are aware of deep hurt and disappointment surrounding us. No matter the outcome, there are those who are bitterly disappointed in the results not only at the national level but at local and state levels. This is definitely a time for Mercy. A time to listen with empathy to what friends, neighbors and family members hoped for in this election. I am quite sure that each of us has had the experience of words being given to us at a crucial moment. This is the time to pray for words to speak to those who are so disappointed.