While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, he 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)
This passage from scripture strikes a somber note and causes many people to take a breath, wonder if it describes today and then try to not focus on the scene that Jesus describes.
Some people try to move away from it and retreat into a self-built bubble where all is light and bright. Nothing wrong with that as long as it bears some connection to the world that exists.
Others would even suggest that it is describing the world of 2021. Sounds like it but truth is that we don’t know for certain.
What we do know for certain is that this passage reminds us of two things: the need for us to be vigilant about the world and the need for us to remember that in trying times, we are called to remember God’s nature and God’s promise.
The Lord Jesus tells us that there will be trials, suffering, and persecution in this present age until he comes again at the end of the world. God intends our anticipation of his final judgment to be a powerful deterrent to unfaithfulness and wrongdoing. God extends grace and mercy to all who will heed his call and his warning.
Do not pass up, even for one day, God’s invitation of grace and mercy to seek first his kingdom of righteousness and peace. Do not pass up, even for one day, to walk in the light of God’s love. You can be, and will be, a beacon of love and caring regardless of what is happening around you. Do not pass, even for one day, your opportunity to live that love because this day may be your only chance before that final day comes.
Remembering God’s nature and promise.
God is not looking for punishment.
God is looking for an opportunity to show mercy.
During turbulent times we can find ourselves at a standoff with God, because we grasp at any lifeboat that promises us safety. But God is against every example of glorified nationalism. God rejects every call for violent retribution. These are ways of thinking into which you and I can be tempted to fall. That is God’s nature.
We need to remember his promise. Even if we are unable to forgive, even if we are unwilling to consider another point of view, even if we are overcome with anger against our enemy, God does not give up on us. God keeps patiently calling for us to change.
Of course, in fact, there can be no standoff between God and us. Both the Bible and our faith tradition tell us that God is always right, and we must accept God’s point of view. But God gives us time to reach that understanding. And until we attain God’s perspective, God continues to walk by our side, loving us as daughters and sons. Asking us to share that love as his children.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, your grace and mercy abounds even in the midst of trials and difficulties. Help me to seek your kingdom first and to reject whatever would hinder me from pursuing your way of peace, righteousness, and holiness. Fill me with the joy and hope of your everlasting kingdom.”
We human beings tend to be very anxious for the future. “Teacher, when will this happen? What sign will there be?” Difficult things happen to all of us–sickness, setbacks, missed opportunities–but we do not despair! Christ says today, “Such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.” God our Father has been preparing a future for us from the very beginning, “plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). May we not be anxious and instead trust in the Lord.