Daily Reflection – 11/26/2020
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)
This is a prophecy of the end of times, a.k.a. the apocalypse, the Omega, Armageddon, the End Times, the promised return of Jesus to judge both the living and the dead.
But it is also a Gospel of promise and of hope . . . the last verse reminds us; “But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”
The message was initially directed toward Christians in situations of crisis and meant to offer hope and comfort by placing their struggles in the larger story of Christ’s eventual triumph over evil and return in righteousness. These same words can apply to us, and so we should focus less on the specific descriptions and instead fasten our eyes on Jesus’ words of promise.
He commanded us not to fear, but live in hope No matter what may come, no matter how bad things may get, no matter how bleak the future may seem, Christ has promised to return for us and all creation.
We may not know the day or the hour when all this is to take place. No one has a map by which to read or predict the future. No one has a decoding key to explain current events in light of an apocalyptic timetable. But we do have this promise: that Christ will return to redeem us and all the world.
That promise is especially important in our world today. Around us wars are raging and people are suffering. In these troubled times, we must focus on the majesty, power, and love of Christ. Though the world may seem to be in turmoil, we can put our hope and trust in His. It’s part of the Christian DNA.
The very heart of Christianity is inclusion and welcome and invitation. It is trust and contentment and hope that cannot be overtaken. It is serving and yielding and sacrificing. It is reaching out, not pointing fingers. It is offering words of praise not derision. It is seeking opportunities to build bridges, not to constantly tear down fences. Faithful following of Christ gives us the best assurance that our lives have meaning.
We look forward to the day of Jesus’ return in glory. We are called to help others prepare for that day and to be ready to greet it with confidence. On the last day we might regret many things, but we will never regret the things we did for Christ. Until then, let us make our hope in the Son of God’s return burn brightly in our hearts, until the sky shines brightly with his glory. And he will say, “I forgive you. Welcome into paradise.”
Now, that’s more than a little hopefulness: that’s comfort, reassurance, glad tidings of great joy. “I forgive you. Welcome into paradise.”
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, fill me with gratitude for the gift of redemption and increase my hope and longing for your return again in glory. May that day bring joy to my heart rather than sorrow. Help me to serve you faithfully and to make the best use of my time now in the light of your coming again.”
For those who have tried to live by the vision and values of the Gospel, for those who have tried to seek and find Jesus in all the people and events of their lives, who have spent hours with Him in intimate dialogue, it is the time of their final liberation, a time when there will be no more sorrows, no more tears, no more hardships, no more disappointments. Rather, they will be entering an unbroken time of love and intimacy, of freedom and peace, of joy and consolation.