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 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.” Luke 21:5-11
Jesus had a clear sense of where history was going. In less than forty years after his dire prediction, the Romans destroyed the Temple and leveled Jerusalem in an act of incredible cruelty that may have cost the lives of over a million people with countless more driven away or carried off into slavery.
Our lesson’s reference to the glory of the Temple is a reminder that many of us live in the midst of beautiful structures. We worship in beautiful churches. A lot of our homes are lovely. But the lovely human-made structures that surround us must never be the ultimate focus for your life and mine. It is not the buildings but the people who gather in them that are precious for us.
Jesus’ words invite us to detach ourselves from the things that do not last and focus today on that which is unfailing, ever-present and sustaining: the love of God.
As we let go of worldly things that will end and focus on building our relationship with God, we can be confident that we are ready to leave this world and go home, whenever the time comes.
When we are asked: Where is Jesus Christ today? Our answer should simply be: The body of Christ is present wherever two or more are gathered in his name! We are the Church and we know, that by the grace of God, not even the gates of hell shall prevail against us.
I am convinced that our Lord is calling us to live our lives in a counter-cultural way that points to what God is doing all around us. This is our challenge. To look beyond the stones, to look beyond the world of material things and to acknowledge that Christ looks to you and to me to build his Kingdom here on earth.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, when my world seems to cave in around me, help me to turn my eyes to You and to trust in Your mercy and grace. Help me to know that You will never abandon me and that You have a perfect plan for all things. Help me to never be afraid of sharing that belief in you. Help me to look beyond the violence of the world and see the signs of your kingdom, for people who in their own small quiet way are truly making a difference in the world—who by their love and care are beating back the violence that afflicts us.
“Nothing is sweeter than love; nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing more generous, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller or better in Heaven or on earth; for love proceeds from God and cannot rest but in God above all things created.” – Thomas a’Kempis