When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, Jesus said, ‘All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.’ And they put to him this question: ‘Master,’ they said ‘when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that this is about to take place?’
‘Take care not to be deceived,’ he said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and, “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.’ Then he said to them, ‘Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
‘But before all this happens, men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’
The Gospel on Sunday, the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, confronts us with the end of all that we know and trust in.
In the lack of all that we are invited to put our entire trust in God: not in religion, institutions, ourselves, but God alone. Our trust, our faith will suffice, and lead to our fulfilment.
There are so many times we are stripped of what gives us security and safety. When someone we love dies; when we lose our job; when our ambitions fail; when our expectations of others prove unrealistic… Again and again, in the lives of most of us we face these ‘end times’ and are challenged to trust only in God.
- What helps you trust?
- What makes it harder?
Debris from the former Temple at Jerusalem. (c) 2012, Allen Morris