Jesus said to his disciples: “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation is at hand. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. Let those within the city escape from it, and let those in the countryside not enter the city, for these days are the time of punishment when all the scriptures are fulfilled. Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth and a wrathful judgment upon this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Luke 21:20-28)
The Gospels of the last few days have dealt with the “end times.” In many ways, they can be gloomy, if not frightening. Amidst the talk of persecution of those who follow Jesus and the calamities that will occur in the world, where is the note of hope?
It is fact that since the time of Christ, many nations and rulers have come and gone, cities and cultures have thrived and passed away. There have been many calamities, revolutions, world wars, and natural disasters. Many things on earth that people expected to last forever are no longer here. Yet, the Christian Church has endured for more than 2,000 years, surviving controversy and attacks and it continues to grow. This fact certainly enhances my faith when it gets shaky.
Every day, every week, despite all the changes in the world and in the Church, people come together to pray and “stand erect”. In turn they go out into the world to evangelize and serve others by providing food, health care, and education. More importantly the Church helps people to expand their faith. It is amazing what is accomplished. And why does the Church endure when other institutions pass?
We often believe that the only things made to last are tangible things, and that words are ephemeral since “talk is cheap.” To the contrary, it is Christ’s word as reflected in the Gospels that “will not pass away.” The Church endures because it is built on the Word of God—a truth that will last throughout the ages.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, help me to judge the things of my daily life against eternity. Let me see things with your eyes. Let me see what is really valuable and what is fleeting. And help me to act accordingly.
The more we immerse ourselves in prayer, Scripture, and Christian community, the more intimately we will come to know God’s love. Slowly, we can begin to trust in God’s love as a more fundamental reality than our earthly fears. When we are called out of our comfort zones or when the world seems to fall apart around us, we can be secure in God’s love and therefore our place with God in heaven.