Listen to these Words

Scripture Reading

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house. 
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. 
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand. 
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house. 
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”
(Matthew 7:21,24-27)

Scripture Study

It was not unusual for Jewish teachers to remind audiences of the two ways, or to warn against false prophets, or to stress the importance of bearing fruit in good works. But what Jesus says next is without parallel. While explaining who will enter the kingdom of heaven, he describes himself as the judge of the world on the final day of reckoning (see 16:28; 25:11–12, 31–46).

The focus is an exchange that Jesus will have with evildoers. Curiously, the sinners he addresses are not what we might expect—serial murderers, militant atheists, godless world rulers, and the like. Rather, they are individuals who lived their lives as professed Christians! These are folks who call Jesus Lord and who claim to have done miraculous works in his name. Yet, in spite of their Christian façade, the judge declares: I never knew you.

The point is that religious confession is no substitute for a personal relationship with Jesus and the obligation to obey his Father’s will. If our creed and our conduct are out of alignment, then our profession of Jesus as Lord is not a true submission to his lordship. The mere fact that believers can perform miracles in Jesus’ name, which is an exercise of charismatic grace, is no proof that sanctifying grace has penetrated their lives or brought them closer to Christ.[1]

Scripture Reflection

Today’s Gospel asks how we apply the Lord’s teaching. “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse.” This is the heart of it: if you are rooted in God, then you can withstand anything, precisely because you are linked to that power which is creating the cosmos. You will be blessed at the deepest place, and nothing can finally touch you.

But the one who does not take Jesus’ words to heart, “will be like the fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.” When the inevitable trials come, the life built on pleasure, money, power, or fame will give way.

So the question is a simple one: where do you stand? How goes it with your heart? On what, precisely, is the whole of your life built?

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV. 

 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, The Gospel of Matthew, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 121.

Fishers of Men

Scripture Reading

As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father 
and followed him.
(Matthew 4:18-22)

 

Scripture Study

4:18 Jesus next summons four men to be his disciples. He finds them at the Sea of Galilee, a lake about thirteen miles long, north to south, and seven miles across at its widest. In the spring, after the winter rains, this is a place of stunning natural beauty—green hills, flowery meadows, gentle breezes, shimmering waters.

When the voice of Jesus reaches these men, they are fishing. We are not to picture in our minds a recreational activity—a leisurely afternoon of bait-and-tackle fishing. These are professional fishermen. They have in hand circular fishing nets, weighted around the perimeter, that were thrown from a standing position in shallow water. Nets like these were designed to catch large shoals of fish at a time to be sold at the local fish markets in Capernaum or dried for export to other places.

4:19–20 Simon and his brother Andrew are the first to be called. “Come after me,” Jesus urges them. This is a remarkable scene on many counts. Jewish rabbis were normally chosen as mentors by interested students, not the other way around. Thus by taking the initiative to gather disciples to himself, the Messiah adopts a new and unconventional tactic. Even more striking is the brothers’ response: without deliberation or hesitation they drop their nets and set out after the Galilean preacher who promises to make them fishers of men. Other rabbis accepted students who studied their teachings; Jesus forms disciples who, like himself, “catch” people and draw them to salvation.

4:21–22 Further down the shoreline, a second call goes out to James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They too respond with amazing promptness. Only here the summons to follow Jesus is met with greater sacrifice, for these brothers not only leave behind their fishing gear, but they also bid farewell to their father. Theirs is a break with family as well as livelihood, and both decisions are made immediately.[1]

Scripture Reflection

Today’s Gospel reports the Lord’s calling his first disciples. What is it about this scene that is so peaceful and right? Somehow it gets at the very heart of Jesus’ life and work, revealing what he is about. He comes into the world as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, a representative from the community which is God—and thus his basic purpose is to draw the world into community around him.”

“He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” There is so much packed into that simple line. Well, we notice the way that God acts. He is direct, in your face; he does the choosing. Jesus is not offering a doctrine, a theology, a set of beliefs. He is offering himself. Become my disciple. Apprentice to me.

“And I will make you fishers of men.” One of the best one-liners in the Scripture. God is the creator, the one who makes us from nothing. And what he makes us is always a reflection of himself: a fisher of men.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV. 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, The Gospel of Matthew, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 81–82.

Son and Father

Scripture Reading

Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike. 
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. 
All things have been handed over to me by my Father. 
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 
For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
(Luke 10:21-24)

 

Scripture Study

Revealed them to the childlike: a restatement of the theme announced in Lk 8:10: the mysteries of the kingdom are revealed to the disciples.

No one knows who the Son is except the Father: Jesus is the divine Son of God and, so, the heir of his Father’s authority and estate (Mt 28:18; Jn 3:35; 17:2). The Father, Son, and Spirit are equal in being, and no one of them possesses more of the divine life and knowledge than another. Since the Son is no less perfect than the Father, he is uniquely qualified to reveal the inner life of the Trinity to the world (Jn 1:18; 14:9) (CCC 253, 2603).[1]

Scripture Reflection

In the Gospel reading today we witness Jesus in intimate conversation with his Father. We are being invited into very deep mysteries by this passage. Jesus addresses his Father and thereby reveals his own deepest identity within the Holy Trinity. He says, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, you have revealed them to the little ones.”

It is most important to keep in mind that this is not simply a good and holy man addressing God, but rather the very Son of God addressing his Father. We are being given a share in the inner life of God, the conversation between the first two Trinitarian persons.

And what are the “things” that have been concealed from the learned and revealed to the little ones? Nothing other than the mystery of Jesus’ relationship to his Father, the love that obtains between Father and Son, the inner life of God. From the beginning, this is what God wanted to give us.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV. 

 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch, “Introduction to the Gospels,” in The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 128–129.

CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church – 2nd Edition)

Amazed

Scripture Reading

When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,
“Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” 
He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” 
The centurion said in reply,
“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.
For I too am a man subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes;
and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes;
and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,
“Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. 
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 8:5-11)

Scripture Study

8:5 centurion: A Roman military commander of 100 soldiers. Emphasis falls on his ethnic identity as a Gentile who has faith in Jesus (8:10). According to Luke, he was favorable to the Jewish nation and responsible for building a synagogue in Capernaum (Lk 7:5).

8:8 Lord, I am not worthy: Demonstrates great faith and humility. Jesus “marveled” (8:10) that such virtue was displayed by a Gentile.

8:11 sit at table: Alludes to an OT promise of a great feast to accompany the messianic age (Is 25:6–9). See note on Mt 22:2. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: Jesus hints at the universal spread of the gospel to all nations in the Church (28:19). ● These OT patriarchs are linked with God’s covenant oath to Abraham that all nations would eventually share his blessings (Gen 22:18; CCC 543). The covenant was renewed with Isaac (Gen 26:3–5) and Jacob (Gen 28:14).[1]

Scripture Reflection

What is it to be amazed? The dictionary speaks of something that fills us with wonder and awe; something that astonishes us. In our reading today we see Jesus being amazed by the centurions great faith.

The faith-filled words of the centurion are evoked in the Eucharistic liturgy just before receiving Holy Communion. As the Catechism explains: “Before so great a sacrament, the faithful can only echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the centurion: … ‘Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed’ ” (CCC 1386).[2]

Like the centurion, we acknowledge our unworthiness to have Jesus enter under the roof of our souls. Yet just as the centurion believed Jesus was able to heal his servant, so we trust that Jesus can heal us as he becomes the most intimate guest of our soul in Holy Communion.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV. 

 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch, “Introduction to the Gospels,” in The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 20.

CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church – 2nd Edition)

[2] Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, The Gospel of Matthew, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 127.

Embrace the Light

Scripture Reading

Brothers and sisters:
You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day,
not in orgies and drunkenness,
not in promiscuity and lust,
not in rivalry and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.
(Romans 13:11-14)

Scripture Study

13:11 salvation is nearer: With reference to our personal judgment as well as to Christ’s future return in glory (Heb 9:27, 28; 1 Pet 1:5).

13:12 the night: The present evil age, when death and darkness still pervade the world (Gal 1:4). It is essentially a time for conversion, until the unending day of eternity dawns (Rev 22:5). In the meantime, Christians must be on guard against the devil, protecting themselves with the armor of light (Eph 6:11–17; 1 Thess 5:8).

13:14 put on the Lord Jesus: That is, renew the commitments you made at Baptism, when you were first clothed with Christ (Gal 3:27). One has to flee the occasions of sin that entice the flesh.[1]

Scripture Reflection

The Church uses this inspired text in the liturgy of Advent to help us prepare for the coming of the Lord. Christ came into the world by his Incarnation; he also comes to souls through grace; and at the end of time he will come as Judge. Rising like the sun, he dispelled the darkness when he came into the world, and he continues to dispel whatever darkness remains in souls the more he obtains mastery over the hearts of men.[2]

Bishop Robert Barron asks: “Why does the coming of the Son of Man strike fear in us? If he is the Son of God, then he will break into our sinful world like a cleansing fire and like a wild storm and like a violent revolution. Well, if he is the life, that life which is opposed to him has to give way; and if he’s truth, then false claimants to truth must cede to him; and if he’s the way, then the false ways have to be abandoned. And all of this will hurt. So we must watch, pray, and renounce our sins.”

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV. 

 

 

 

[1] The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 277.
[2] Saint Paul’s Letters to the Romans & Galatians, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2005), 126.

Maranatha!

Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.

For the LORD is a great God,
and a great king above all gods;
In his hands are the depths of the earth,
and the tops of the mountains are his.
His is the sea, for he has made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.

Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
(Psalm 95:1-2, 3-5, 6-7)

Scripture Study

Acknowledgment of God as king of the universe in Psalm 93, and as “our God” in Psalm 94:23, leads in Psalm 95 to an invitation to praise him on both scores. The voice of the Lord is heard by his people above the thunder of the waters (cf. Ps 93:3–4). The psalmist begins with an invitation to praise the Lord (vv. 1–2), for he is Lord of heaven and earth (vv. 3–5); then comes a new invitation to worship the Lord because he is the God of his people (vv. 6–7) and a warning that they must not let anything lead them away from him (vv. 7d–11). Christians praying this psalm are conscious of being members of the new people of God. They acknowledge the greatness of God the Creator, and also Christ’s lordship over the Church; this means that they are ready to listen to Christ’s voice (cf. Mt 17:5).

95:1–2. The invitation “O come” (vv. 1 and 6) might indicate that this was a pilgrimage psalm, although its main theme, the contemplation of God as King, can apply to any situation.
95:3–5. He is King over heavenly powers (“above all gods”: v. 3) and over every part of the earth.
95:6–7. He is King of the people that he created (“our Maker”) and whom he nourishes and guides as a shepherd does his flock (cf. Ps 23:1–2). The New Vulgate moves the last sentence in v. 7 to v. 8.[1]

Reflection

The readings today urge us to watch and pray as we await his coming again. The word “Maranatha” is an Aramaic word, which occurs in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians and was understood by the Christian Fathers as ‘The Lord has come’ but Its use by St Paul reflects the strong hope of the second coming of the Lord.[2]

Bishop Barron tells us that in one sense, Christianity is a religion of fulfillment (the Lord has come), but in another sense, it is a religion of waiting, for we expect the second coming of Jesus in the fullness of his power.

We wait and watch and keep vigil. And this is difficult. But what we all know is that great things take time. When a woman becomes pregnant, she has to wait nine long months before the baby is ready.

“How long does this analysis take?” a woman once asked Carl Jung. “Just as long as it takes,” came the answer. Gestation, growth. During any of these processes, the very worst thing one could do would be to pick at it, to force it, to make it operate according to his private timetable. So Jesus calls us to “be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength…to stand before the Son of Man.”[3]

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

 

 

[1] James Gavigan, Brian McCarthy, and Thomas McGovern, eds., Psalms and the Song of Solomon, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2003), 320–321.
[2] F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford;  New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 1038.
[3] Bishop Robert Barron, Word on Fire, November 26, 2016.

My Words Will Not Pass Away

Jesus told his disciples a parable.
“Consider the fig tree and all the other trees.
When their buds burst open,
you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near;
in the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that the Kingdom of God is near.
Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away, 
but my words will not pass away.”

(Luke 21:29-33)

 

Scripture Study

21:31. The Kingdom of God, announced by John the Baptist (cf. Mt 3:2) and described by our Lord in so many parables (cf. Mt 13; Lk 13:18–20), is already present among the apostles (Lk 17:20–21), but it is not yet fully manifest. Jesus here describes what it will be like when the Kingdom comes in all its fullness, and he invites us to pray for this very event in the Our Father: “Thy Kingdom come.” “The Kingdom of God, which had its beginnings here on earth in the Church of Christ, is not of this world, whose form is passing, and its authentic development cannot be measured by the progress of civilization, of science and of technology. The true growth of the Kingdom of God consists in an ever deepening knowledge of the unfathomable riches of Christ, in an ever stronger hope in eternal blessings, in an ever more fervent response to the love of God, and in an ever more generous acceptance of grace and holiness by men” (Creed of the People of God, 27). At the end of the world everything will be subjected to Christ and God will reign for ever more (cf. 1 Cor 15:24, 28).

21:32. Everything referring to the destruction of Jerusalem was fulfilled some forty years after our Lord’s death—which meant that Jesus’ contemporaries would be able to verify the truth of this prophecy. But the destruction of Jerusalem is a symbol of the end of the world; therefore, it can be said that the generation to which our Lord refers did see the end of the world, in a symbolic way. This verse can also be taken to refer to the generation of believers, that is, not just the particular generation of those Jesus was addressing.[1]

Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel passage Jesus speaks of the time when the plan of God will be fulfilled. Some philosophies defend a circular or cyclic understanding of time: that time just continually circles back on itself, repeating itself like the cycles of the seasons. The modern philosopher Nietzsche spoke of the “eternal return of the same.” That’s a mythic consciousness, and it can be found all over the world.

But Jews had a very different sense of time, what we might call “linear.” They felt that time was moving somewhere, that it had, under God’s direction, a purpose. The past was not simply there to be repeated endlessly; rather, the past was a preparation for a definitive future. It was an anticipation of what God would do, what God was going to accomplish.

So, the Lord assures us that the Kingdom of God is near and that we must prepare for its coming.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

 

[1] Saint Luke’s Gospel, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2005), 172–173.

Eucharisteo

And now, bless the God of all,
who has done wondrous things on earth;
Who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb,
and fashions them according to his will!
May he grant you joy of heart
and may peace abide among you;
May his goodness toward us endure in Israel
to deliver us in our days.
(Sirach 50:22-24)

 

Scripture Study

Simeon II, in whose time as high priest (219–196 b.c.) great works were accomplished for the benefit of public worship and welfare (vv. 1–4). Ben Sira, a contemporary, describes detailed liturgical action, perhaps pertaining to the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur, cf. Lv 16).

50:22–24 Ben Sira urges the reader to praise and bless God for his wondrous works and then invokes a blessing on all that they may enjoy peace and gladness of heart and the abiding goodness of the Most High.[1]

Reflection

The Greek word for “thanks” in this verse is eucharisteo. The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning “grace.” Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning “joy.” Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy. (Eucharisteo Conversation)

Now, let’s think for a moment about what Jesus’s eucharisteo meant.

Thank you, Father, that my body, symbolized by this bread, is about to be brutally broken and I am about to be (momentarily) damned by your wrath (Isaiah 53:10) so that you will receive supreme glory in being able to forgive undeserving sinners (Philippians 2:11) and I will share eternally full joy (John 15:11; Psalm 16:11) with hundreds of millions of forgiven sinners made righteous through my sacrifice (Isaiah 53:11).

Jesus’s thanks was not based on his present circumstances. He was about to endure the worst possible horror. He felt thankful to the Father for the grace and glory that was coming because of the cross and this gave him joy. May your Thanksgiving celebrations be soaked in eucharisteo.

– Jon Bloom

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

[1] Donald Senior, John J. Collins, and Mary Ann Getty, eds., The Catholic Study Bible, 2nd Ed.: Notes, 2nd ed., vol. 2 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 982–983.

Preserve

Jesus said to the crowd:
“They will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents,
brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
(Luke 21:12-19)

 

Scripture Study

Jesus foretells all kinds of persecution. Persecution itself is something inevitable: “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12). His disciples will have need to remember the Lord’s warning at the Last Supper: “ ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (Jn 15:20). However, these persecutions are part of God’s providence: they happen because he lets them happen, which he does in order to draw greater good out of them. Persecution provides Christians with an opportunity to bear witness to Christ; without it the blood of martyrs would not adorn the Church. Moreover, our Lord promises to give special help to those who suffer persecution, and he tells them not be afraid: he will give them of his own wisdom to enable them to defend themselves; he will not permit a hair of their heads to perish, that is, even apparent misfortune and loss will be for them a beginning of heaven.

From Jesus’ words we can also deduce the obligation of every Christian to be ready to lose his life rather than offend God. Only those will attain salvation who persevere until the end in faithfulness to the Lord. The three Synoptic Gospels locate his exhortation to perseverance in this discourse (cf. Mt 24:13; Mk 13:13) and St Matthew gives it elsewhere (Mt 10:22) as does St Peter (1 Pet 5:9)—all of which underlines the importance for every Christian of this warning from our Lord.[1]

Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel passage describes the persecution Christians face before the end of the world. When does the church stop being persecuted? When the Lord returns, and not before.

From the earliest days until the present, the community of Jesus Christ has been the focus of the world’s violence. There is the old principle: “kill the messenger.” And it applies here. The church will announce, until the end of time, that the old world is passing away, that a new world of love, non-violence, and life is emerging. This announcement always infuriates the world of sin. Always. The twentieth century was the bloodiest on record—and the one with the most martyrs.

What do we do in the meantime? We maintain a detachment from the world that is passing away, our eyes fixed on the world that will never end. And we speak. Confidently, boldly, provocatively. The message of the Gospel, the dying and rising of the Lord.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

 

[1]  Saint Luke’s Gospel, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2005), 170–171.

A New World

And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, “As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” And they asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?” And he said, “Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once.” 

Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
(Luke 21:5-11)

 

Scripture Study

21:8. On hearing that Jerusalem is going to be destroyed, the disciples ask what sign will be given as a warning of these events (vv. 5–7). Jesus answers by telling them “not to be led astray,” that is to say, not to expect any warning; not to be misled by false prophets; to stay faithful to him. These false prophets will come along claiming to be the Messiah (“I am he!”). Our Lord’s reply in fact refers to two events which in the Jewish mind were interrelated—the destruction of the Holy City and the end of the world. This is why he goes on to speak of both events and implies that there will be a long gap between the two; the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem are a kind of sign or symbol of the catastrophes which will mark the end of the world.

21:9–11. Our Lord does not want his disciples to confuse just any catastrophe—famine, earthquake, war—or even persecution with the signals of the end of the world. He exhorts them quite clearly: “Do not be terrified,” because although all this has to happen, “the end will not be at once;” in spite of difficulties of all kinds the Gospel will spread to the ends of the earth. Difficulties should not paralyze the preaching of the faith.[1]

Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus responds to questions about the end of the world. When will it come? What will happen? Why were the first Christians interested in these questions? The simplest and deepest answer is that they had experienced the end of the world—precisely in the dying and rising of Jesus.

Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of God, and the nations conspired against him. The old world seemed to conquer this new world that Jesus embodied. But then, in the resurrection, they saw that the old world—the world predicated upon death and the world that had done Jesus in—was now defeated.

So awed were they by the resurrection—and you can sense it in every book and letter of the New Testament—that they awaited the imminent arrival of the new state of affairs, the return of Jesus and the establishment of God’s kingdom. Though Jesus did not immediately return, the old world was over, broken, compromised, its destruction now just a matter of time.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

 

 

[1] Saint Luke’s Gospel, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2005), 169–170.